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Rains add to woes of flood-hit people

Bhubaneswar: Fresh rains triggered by a low pressure compounded the plight of the marooned people in flood-hit parts of Orissa today besides hampering relief operations.

The state government, however, ruled out any deterioration of the flood situation due to the rains.

"Though several areas have been lashed by rains, it will not lead to rise in river water level which is now receding," water resources secretary Suresh Mohapatra said.

However, people taking shelter under makeshift structures on highways were affected as rains and thundershowers lashed several areas of Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Khurda districts since early hours, official sources said.

The low pressure induced rainfall affected relief work in many coastal areas located in the Mahanadi delta region, they said.

The focus in the state had now shifted to distribution of relief and post-disaster operations in areas affected by the devastating floods, which claimed at least 20 lives and affected about 22 lakh people in around 4,000 villages spread over 19 districts.

The meteorological department said rains were likely to continue at many places in coastal Orissa till tomorrow with possibility of heavy rain at a couple of places. Fishermen were advised to be cautious while venturing into the sea.

Maintaining that the situation would be normal in flood affected areas in a day or two, he said water flow at Munduli near Cuttack had come down to five lakh cusec from about 13.6 lakh cusec. It would soon drop to 3 lakh cusec, he said.

Though water receded from most places, some pockets in Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh districts still remained cut off from the rest of the state, a senior official said.

Around 1.57 lakh people had been evacuated from low-lying areas and shifted to 275 relief camps, he said.

Officials were directed to undertake field visits to ensure that safe drinking water, road connectivity, power supply and other facilities were in place as soon as possible, the sources said.

The state government has also taken steps for providing polythene sheets to the flood-affected people while air dropping of food materials continues.

Officials said emergency health care services were being provided in the affected areas where around 400 medical relief centres had started operating. About 110 mobile health units were also deployed.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya said the focus was on disinfecting the water sources in the flood affected areas. Around 9,000 wells have been treated so far and more water bodies would be disinfected soon.

Around 10 lakh halogen tablets and over 15,000 ORS packets have been distributed so far, while over 12,000 people have been treated for common ailments, sources said, adding anti-venom injections were also made available to deal with snake bite incidents.

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