Odisha flood situation grim, lakhs marooned, toll 6

Bhubaneswar: Incessant rains induced by low pressure triggered floods in cyclone-hit Ganjam and other coastal districts of Odisha, leaving six dead, even as the state government today decided to airlift people stranded atop buildings in the southern region.

The death toll in recent flash flood mounted to six with death of four members of a family, including two children, due to wall collapse in Jagatsinghpur district. Earlier, two persons had died in wall collapse in Ganjam district.

"Four persons, including a three-month-old baby, were killed due to wall collapse in Jagatsinghpur municipality area," Jagatsinghpur district collector S K Mallick said.

Flood water gushed into more villages in Ganjam district and above one lakh people were marooned, said Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro.

"As a large number of people are taking shelter on rooftops of different buildings in Ganjam district, we are planning to use chopper to rescue the affected people," Patro said, adding all the rivers in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Nayagarh are overflowing.

Describing the flood situation in Ganjam as "grim", Patro said thousands of people are encircled by flood water in Aska, Sorada, Hinjili, Sergarh, Belaguntha, Rangelunda blocks.

He said similar was the situation in Gajapati district.

"We have rescued at least nine persons taking shelter on a tree near Aska after last mid-night. Personnel of NDRF and ODRF are deployed in rescue operation," said Ganjam collector Kishan Kumar.

The collector said many places have now become inaccessible. "The relief team can reach the affected people once the water receded," he said.

Though the district administration has evacuated above 40,000 people, another one lakh people remained marooned.

Rivers like Rusikulya, Bansadhara and Ghodahada are rising due to non-stop rain for the last five days.

The state government has announced closure of schools and colleges in coastal districts in view of the flood.

As rain water flooded low-lying areas of Berhampur city in Ganjam district, around 2,000 families were stranded in affected areas like Nilanchala Nagar, Basudev Nagar, Gajapati Nagar and Haradakhandi.

Fire brigade personnel pressed into service a powerboat to provide relief to the marooned people.

"The situation is very grim. The overflowing Sapua, Gania and Bahan nullahs have added to the woes," said MLA (Berhampur) R Ch Chyaptnaik and MLA (Gopalpur) Pradip Panigrahi after visiting the areas.

People blamed the administration for the sorry state of affairs and alleged that neither Berhampur Municipal Corporation nor the district administration took steps to drain out the rainwater.

"Though district Collector Krishan Kumar and other officers visited the area, they did not have an immediate solution to the problem," said Sudarshan Nayak, a resident.

Train services were disrupted between Khurda Road and Palasa with flood water submerging railway tracks in several areas, railway officials said. adding several trains were diverted due to flood.