Zee Media Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday said that his government`s focus has shifted from minimizing damage to ensuring that relief materials reach the victims in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin.
After visiting Ganjam, one of the most damaged regions, and conducting an aerial survey, Patnaik said: "As you know, our first priority was evacuation. That is now over, so, we are concentrating on necessary relief materials, food and medical supplies, which are reaching the people."
Patnaik said that the specifics of the rehabilitation process would be addressed only after a comprehensive survey of the all-round damage is done.
"Of course, proper survey will be done for rehabilitation, for damaged houses, for boats, for crops which include horticultural crops," he said.
Patnaik also confirmed that roads have been, more or less, fixed, and said that power would take some time to be restored in certain places due to the great deal of damage done to electrical works.
"We have requested the Government of India to help us with technical manpower, which is necessary for the restoration of power," he added.
Meanwhile, rescue operations were underway a day after cyclone Phailin left a trail of massive destruction across the state. The cyclone, which is now moving inland, led to heavy rainfall that caused massive floods forcing evacuation of thousands.
Lakhs of people were stranded in Balasore district and the state government has declared the area as `critical`.
The state government deployed armed forces and NDRF teams to rescue the people stranded across districts. Over two lakh people are reportedly stranded in Balasore where flood waters of Budhabalang River swamped villages in Remuna, Balasore sadar, Jaleswar and Bhograi blocks.
Even several areas of Mayurbhanj district, Baripada, Betanati and Badasahi blocks have been severely hit in the floods.
At least four more people were reported to have been killed in severe floods increasing the death toll due to cyclone in the state to 25.
The state government has launched relief operations in the flooded areas to rescue the stranded people and move them to safety. Air packets were also dropped by helicopters in the flooded areas today.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that the cyclone, that affected around 17 villages and displaced 90 lakh people, is now moving towards Odisha-Chhattisgarh border.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a flood alert for 28 districts of Bihar as heavy rainfall could lead to Kosi and Gandak rivers overflowing and crossing the danger mark.
Heavy rains are expected in the next 48 hours due to atmospheric pressure caused by Cyclone Phailin.
Massive rains and high velocity winds are also expected in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Sikkim.
(With agency inputs)