Naveen assures flood assistance soon, toll up to 39

Bhubaneswar: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today assured the flood affected people that they would receive compensation for house damage and crop loss "as soon as possible" even as 198 villages in three coastal districts remained marooned for the last 10 days.

Patnaik, who had earlier made an aerial survey of the flood situation in the state during peak floods in Mahanadi river system, today visited some of the worst affected areas in Puri and Kendrapara districts.

The chief minister spoke to the people in Gop area of Puri district and Mahakalpada block in Kendrapara district.

"This was a devastating flood. The officials are now engaged in enumeration of house damage and other devastation," Patnaik told reporters at Gop.

During his visit to Kendrapara district, he inspected a health camp and a free kitchen centre.

However, a large number of people who wanted to talk to the chief minister about their miseries, were denied access to Patnaik, a report from Kendrapara said.

Meanwhile, the toll in the floods mounted to 39 while nine others were still missing, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said adding that officials had been asked to disburse ex-gratia to the families of the dead.

"The missing persons will be considered as dead if their whereabouts are not ascertained within three months according to the provision of the relief code," a senior official at the SRC said.

}