Relief ops to continue for seven more days

Bhubaneswar: With lakhs of people in Orissa continuing to reel under the impact of devastating floods, the state government today said the relief work will continue for another seven days in villages still marooned, even as the death toll in the deluge mounted to 38.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who discussed relief and reconstruction work with collectors of 19 flood-hit districts through video-conferencing, also gave instructions for providing jobs to affected people under MGNREGS.

Asking the district collectors to ensure immediate payment of wages in a transparent manner, Patnaik said impoverished people should be provided immediate assistance through Gratuitous Relief Card.

Meanwhile, the death toll due to the devastating floods mounted to 38 with reports of five casualties received today, official sources said, adding that 12 people have gone missing in floods.

Though water level at most places in the Mahanadi delta region had receded, some villages like Kanas, Delang, Gop and Nimapara in Puri district continued to remain marooned, a senior official said.

The state government has already demanded one lakh housing units under Indira Awaas Yojana as an estimated 71,297 houses were damaged in the flood-hit districts affecting about 31 lakh people, he said.

"At least 71,297 houses were found damaged according to preliminary estimates. The number is likely to rise after the final report is received," he said.As crops over 2.87 lakh hectare area were affected by floods, the Centre has been urged to provide seeds at concessional rate for the rabi crop as farmers lost stored seeds, sources said.

Meanwhile, 33,000 affected people in Kendrapara, Jajpur, Subarnapur and Jharsuguda districts were being given food in 120 relief camps while many returned home after water receded in the Mahanadi river system.

Over 1,200 boats were deployed for rescue and relief operations, while 2.8 lakh people were evacuated from low-lying areas.

The central team is likely to visit the affected areas for field assessment any time after September 20 and district authorities have been asked to furnish damage assessment reports as soon as possible.

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