Odisha to seek Central help for rehabilitation work

Bhubaneswar/Berhampur: With Cyclone Phailin and resultant floods affecting around two crore people in Odisha, the state government would submit a report on the damage and loss of property to the Centre seeking immediate assistance for rehabilitation work.

"Preliminary assessment of the damage pertaining to various departments are being done and I have asked them to prepare a report to be submitted to the Centre tomorrow," state Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro said in Berhampur.

He said around two crore people of 16,487 villages under 148 blocks of 2,015 gram panchayats and another 43 urban bodies in 17 blocks were affected due to the cyclone as well as floods which has hit 17 out of 30 districts in the state.

As many as 28 persons were killed, seven of them in floods, while 3.76 lakh houses were reported to be either fully or partially damaged in both the disasters, he said.

Ganjam district was the worst affected in Cyclone Phailin which made a landfall near Gopalpur on Saturday night. Other districts which were affected due to the cyclonic storm and floods were Balasore, Bhadrak, Angul, Bolangir, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Puri, Keoinjhar, Kandhamal and Mayurbhanja, the minister said.

"Death toll was minimised as steps had been taken to evacuate people from almost all villages within 5 kms from the coast before the cyclone struck," Patro said.

While as many as 9.83 lakh people were evacuated to safer places ahead of the storm, around 1.12 lakh people of five districts were shifted before the floods, the Revenue Minister said.

According to state Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das, who is monitoring restoration work in the worst affected Ganjam district, the massive evacuation operation undertaken ahead of the high velocity cyclone had saved people along the vast coastal belt.

Secretaries of different departments have been asked to visit the affected areas and monitor relief and restoration works in the disaster affected districts in order to ensure early restoration of normalcy, a senior official said.

Distribution of relief to the affected people would continue for the next 14 days, Patro said, adding, "The tehsildars have been asked to complete enumeration of the damage and submit a report soon".