Cyclone, flood toll rises to 38: Focus on relief, restoration

Bhubaneswar: With flood waters receding in five districts, the Odisha government today stepped up relief and restoration work as the death toll rose to 38 with the recovery of two bodies.

The state government also updated the number of affected persons in the cyclone and floods at 1.23 crore and the number of disaster-hit villages in 17 districts to 18,117.

The floods substantially subsided in five districts, but two blocks of Baliapal and Bhogarai in Balasore district were still facing a problem, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra told reporters here.

"We hope the water will recede from Bhogarai and Baliapal blocks soon," he said.

The two bodies were recovered at Kendrapara and Puri, Mohapatra said.

Stating that Ganjam, Balasore and Mayurbhanj were identified as the worst cyclone-flood hit districts in the state, Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro said that relief and restoration was the focus of the government now.

With eight lakh families hit by the cyclone in Ganjam, he said that 494 relief centres were being opened in the district from today.

Relief would also be provided from today in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, he said.

Questioned about reports that relief was unavailable, the minister said "So far 91,000 families in Ganjam district have been provided 50 kg of rice and Rs 500 in cash from 310 centres.