By Priya Ranjan Sahu
Bhubaneswar/Hyderabad, (Hindustan Times & Agencies): At least four more people have been killed and 66,000 evacuated as the flood situation worsened in Odisha following incessant rain in most parts of the state for the fifth consecutive day on Friday.
The continuous downpour has added to the suffering of the people after Cyclone Phailin hit the beach town of Gopalpur in Ganjam on the night of October 12 with a wind speed of more than 200 km per hour and destroyed the communication system and power supply in all affected districts, uprooted trees, overturned trucks and flattened kuchha buildings, mostly in Ganjam district.
A day later, the waning cyclone caused heavy rain, triggering flood in Balasore and Mayurbhanj in northern Odisha and catching the state government unawares. Around 1.20 crore people in 17 districts of Odisha were affected due to the twin calamity of cyclone and flood. At least 48 people have died so far, including 27 in the flood.
The flood has spread to 12 districts so far, officials said. The heavy downpour has disrupted road and rail traffic in several areas, affecting relief and restoration operation, they added.
At least 46 gram panchayats in six blocks of Ganjam have been inundated with floodwaters. Besides, many areas of neighbouring Gajapati and Kandhamal, too, came under water due to flooding in Bansadhara river.
The Met on Thursday predicted that the situation may worsen further as rain triggered by a low pressure over the Bay of Bengal would continue for another 48 hours.
The low pressure over the Bay of Bengal has resulted in incessant showers in several areas of Andhra Pradesh as well, with at least 12 rain-related deaths reported so far.
Four persons drowned in a rivulet in Andhra Pradesh’s Prakasam district, while wall collapse incidents claimed the lives of three persons in Hyderabad, two in Guntur and one each in Kurnool, West Godavari and Vizianagaram districts, a press release from the Chief Minister’s Office said on Thursday night.
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has directed the medical and health department to remain on high alert to prevent outbreak of diseases like malaria, dengue and viral fevers in rain-affected districts.
Back in Odisha, revenue and disaster management minister SN Patro earlier said about 5000 people, who had returned to their villages in Ganjam district after the cyclone, had to be shifted to relief camps following the heavy rain.
He added that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Response Force personals were sent to the affected area for relief and rescue operation.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the flood situation and directed the administration to shift people living in low-lying areas to safer places.