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Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the Odisha floods enter the fifth day, the water level at various river points has begun to recede. However, the precarious situation amid which the affected people are forced to live in is far from over.

It is nothing less than an irony that you are left longing for water despite being surrounded by the same. The life-saving elixir has largely eluded the flood-affected people making their lives a mirage.

From Cuttack’s Banki to Khordha’s Balipatna, flood victims across the 10 affected districts have been waiting for the administration to provide them drinking water for five days. While the government has distributed a few drinking water pouches in some villages, it is apparently not enough to quench the thirst of the people.

For instance, locals of Goudapada village in Uttara Banki which has been marooned by the flood water are grappling with infection and snakebite danger. When OTV reached the village, locals were seen living either under polythene sheets on a few remaining lofty areas or on rooftops.

Speaking to OTV, a local woman said, “Our wells have been submerged by floods. We are left with two options; we can either drink this infected water from well by boiling it, or tread for 6-7 kms to fetch potable water from the nearest town.”

Similar allegations surfaced from Manipur village in Banki. A woman said, “We are forced to take water from the only well here despite the water being infected by bacteria-bearing floods.”

The situation is more or less similar in Khordha’s Balipatna area where five Panchayats including Pampalo, Kurujipur, Rajasa, Alisi and Somana have been flooded by a swelling Bhargabi river.

Wading through waist-deep water, a local of Balipatna alleged, “We are left to die here by the administration. Forget about cooked food, we have not even been provided drinking water by the administration.”

The locals of Orabarasingh, Brajamohanpur and Naranagarh are facing the same problem without getting sufficient drinking water.

As the flood has ravaged almost one-third of the State, the reported allegations of inadequate or unavailability of drinking water in Cuttack and Khordha districts are just the tip of the iceberg.

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