Bhubaneswar: Relief and rescue operations gained pace on Monday following improvement in the situation in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts of Odisha where flash floods claimed one life and left thousands marooned.
“The flood situation in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts is improving. Free kitchens have been opened in affected areas. Air dropping of relief materials is undertaken in Rayagada,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Maheswar Mohanty said air-dropping of food materials had started in marooned areas of Rayagada district where road communications were snapped due to flash floods following swelling of the Nagavali and the Kalyani rivers.
While one helicopter was engaged at present, another chopper would soon arrive in the state to take part in the relief operation.
Reports reaching the Special Relief Commissioner’s (SRC) office here said thousands of people were still marooned in several villages of Kalyansinghpur block of Rayagada and Junagarh and Narla blocks in Kalahandi district.
SRC BP Sethi said at least 3,000 food packets had so far been dropped in inundated villages and Kalyansinghpuur blocks of Rayagada district.
He said three teams of NDRF, two units of ODRAF, fire service and police personnel had been pressed into the relief and rescue operation. A team had rescued at least 66 people in Rayagada district on Sunday, Sethi said.
“The government has started air-dropping of food packets for the marooned people at Majhiguda, Kumbharguda, Brahmana Sahi, Kumbharsahi and Sai Nagar in Rayagada district,” an official said, adding the district administration had also started serving cooked food to the people taken shelter in schools.
The district administration of Rayagada has declared closure of schools and colleges for three days in Kalyansinghpur block in view of the flood.
ODRAF, CRPF and fire services units have rushed to the worst affected Kalyansinghpur and Rayagada block of the district to expedite relief and rescue operations.
Rains triggered by a low pressure over the Bay of Bengal since Saturday led to swelling of the Nagavali and Kalyani rivers of Rayagada district causing flash floods affecting over 10,000 people in Kalyansinghpur and neighbouring blocks in the district.
While water levels in the Nagavali and the Kalyani rivers showed receding trend, the water level in Bansadhara river of Gajapati district continued to swell as it crossed the danger mark near Kasinagar in Paralakhemundi on Monday.
According to Kalahandi District Collector Anjan Kumar Manik, one death report has been received from Chalvadi village in Thuamul Rampur block. The man died due to the landslide, the collector said, adding that several roads were cut off due to the rains.
An East Coast Railway (ECoR) official said that three trains were cancelled, two short terminated and one train diverted as flood water was still running on certain train lines in the southern region of Odisha.
The floods severely affected train services in the Rayagada-Titlagarh railway section as a railway bridge between Theruvali and Singapur Road Railway stations was washed away.
Health and family welfare minister PK Jena has asked the health department staff to ensure that the people are not denied minimum health service in the flood-hit districts. The officials have been directed to make essential medicine available for the people in affected areas.
Incessant rains triggered by low pressure severely affected normal life in Cuttack city too. The situation in the city turned grim due to waterlogging in many places forcing the district administration to close down schools for the day.
“For dewatering in Cuttack city, 260 pump sets have been deployed,” the chief minister said adding free kitchens have also started to provide cooked food to the affected people living in low-lying areas.