Orissa flood affects 21 lakh people, 17 killed

Bhubaneswar: With the flood situation in northern Orissa further worsening, the state government on Sunday intensified air-dropping of food packets as 3003 villages remained marooned while the death toll climbed to 11.

While the number of marooned village was 992 till last evening, more than 2,000 villages had been inundated overnight, said revenue and disaster management minister S N Patro adding, the death toll increased to 11 after five persons were swept away in flood water.

"As river Brahmani is in spate and water level continues to rise, the officials had been asked to focus on the rescue operation," Patro said.

Bari block in Jajpur district and Rajnagar, Aul and Rajkanika blocks in Kendrapara district have been severely hit as all communication channels to these pockets had been disrupted. About 10 lakh people were encircled by flood water in these areas, they said.

A senior IAS officer had reached Bari block to supervise rescue and relief operation. A large number of people were taking shelters on roof tops and they need to be evacuated, the minister said, adding floods in the river Brahmani could further worsen.

Though the water resources department had been regulating Brahmani floods from Rengali dam, it could not help reduce the flood fury in the down stream, the minister said.

As the flood water entered into fresh areas, the state government today continued air-dropping of food packets with help of three choppers. "Two more choppers will soon be added in relief and rescue operation", said special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra.