Odisha Flood: Relief, Rehabilitation Efforts Under Way On War-Footing

Bhubaneswar: With 12 districts of the state in the grip of floods and the MeT office warning of a fresh low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal on Friday, the Odisha government has said relief and rehabilitation efforts were under way on a war-footing in the affected areas.

The government has set up free kitchens for the evacuated people. Drinking water pouches are being provided. Adequate stock of polythene sheets has been mobilised to shelter people. Besides, administrations of the affected districts are providing cattle feed for livestock evacuated from submerged areas.

Mini mineral water plants have been installed in Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Kendrapada and Cuttack districts.

“We are running free kitchens for a population of 60,000 in the flood-affected areas,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena was quoted as saying in a news report.

The government has also decided to use school buildings as shelters if required. It has written to all District Project Coordinators, DEOs and BEOs in this regard.

“All school buildings of the School & Mass Education Department of affected districts should be made available as per requirement of the district administration in case of exigency. The headmaster of schools may allow using MDM foodgrains, if necessary, by the district administration which will be recouped from the SRC and may also allow the school buildings for the purpose of shelter and relief distribution as per requirement,” the letter states.

“All DEOs, DPCs and BEOs should ensure to keep the official papers and documents safely to avoid any damages due to heavy rainfall. All DEOs, DPCs and BEOs will prepare the damage report and DEO will submit the consolidated report to the respective Director under intimation to the department immediately after the impending rainfall is over. The DEOs, DPCs and BEOs will not leave headquarters without the prior permission of the Collector and District Magistrate,” the letter states further.

Senior IAS officers Satyabrat Sahu, ACS (Revenue), has already been deputed to Jagatsingpur district and G Reghu, DTET, to Kendrapda district to guide, support and assist the district administration in flood-response management.

In the affected districts, senior engineers, Collectors, Sub-Collectors and senior district administration officials are monitoring the situation round the clock, with ODRAF (Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force), NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and fire service personnel leading rescue operations.

Eighteen ODRAF and NDRF teams and 44 Fire Service teams are engaged in rescue operations round the clock.

The leaves of all government officials in Cuttack, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Nayagarh, Khurda, Angul, Boudh, Sonepur and Sambalpur districts have been cancelled for the next seven days.

Twelve districts of Odisha have been affected by the floods, as per preliminary assessment of the state government. The districts are Angul, Bargarh, Boudh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Kendrapada, Khurda, Nayagarh, Puri, Sambalpur and Subarnapur.

As many as 53,866 people have been evacuated so far from the flood-affected districts, where more than 4.67 lakh people in 1,757 villages have been affected. More than 2.26 lakh people have been marooned in 425 villages.

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