Bhubaneswar: With flood situation in four
north Orissa districts remaining grim, the state government
on Saturday started air-dropping of food packets as 992 villages
continued to be marooned for the second consecutive day.
"It is not practically possible to open free kitchens in
worst-hit Jajpur district as flood water had submerged all the
places in four blocks. Air-dropping of food packets is the
only alternative left with us," state Revenue and Disaster
Management minister S N Patro told reporters.
Stating that two helicopters had already been pressed
into the service, Patro said four more choppers are likely to
be deployed in relief operation. Though the second spell flood
had affected eight districts, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and
Keonjhar had been severely affected due to very high flood in
Brahmani and Baitarani rivers.
Balasore district was also hit by flood water of
Subarnarekha river while Angul and Dhenkanal districts were
affected due to flood in Brahmani river, he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held talks with
Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A K Antony
seeking more choppers and boats for rescue and relief work.
"This is a very strong flood in Jajpur, Kendrapara and
Bhadrak districts," Patnaik said, adding that the state
government was taking all possible steps to provide succour
and relief to 15.40 lakh population in the eight districts.
"I tried to speak to the Prime Minister on the flood
situation. But, it was not possible as he was abroad."
Senior officials were deputed to supervise rescue and
relief operation in these three worst-hit districts where
people were trapped on rooftops with their houses submerged by
flood water of Brahmani and Baitarani.
Meanwhile, six persons died and another went missing in
flood waters. While two persons died in Jajpur district, one
each died in Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Mayurbhanj
districts, special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra said,
adding that 58,664 people has so far been evacuated.
This apart, a large number of snake bite cases were
reported from Kendrapara district, but there was no casualty
due to timely intervention of medical teams, he said.
Jajpur district has been cut off after an old bridge
collapsed at Sathipur yesterday while the alternative road
through Panikoeli area was under water. The administration was
facing difficulties in transporting relief materials to the
affected area, he said.
"Flood situation in Jajpur, Kendrapara and Bhardak is
grave," the SRC said, adding that above 400 villages in Jajpur
district were marooned followed by 135 villages in Bhadrak
district, 163 villages in Kendrapara district and 74 villages
in Mayurbhanj district.