Orissa gears up post-relief ops, flood toll 40



Bhubaneswar: With water receding in all rivers, Orissa government on Thursday said it has stepped up post- relief operation to restore normalcy in flood-affected areas.

"The departments like health and family welfare, rural development, panchayati raj, works, water resources and women and child welfare have been asked to take up post-relief activities on war footing," Revenue and Disaster Management Minister SN Patro said.

Claiming that most of the worst-hit areas are now accessible by roads and some places could be reached by boats, Patro said the government has decided to withdraw air-dropping of food materials from tomorrow.

The death toll in the second spell of floods has rose to 40 while two other persons remain missing, Patro said.

At least 41 people were killed in the first spell of flood in the Mahanadi river system earlier this month.

Works and rural development departments which look after village roads have assured the government of starting road restoration works within two days after water receded, Special Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra said.

Several health teams had gone to the flood-hit districts, he added.

Senior officials of health and rural development departments have been posted in specific areas to ensure that restoration works are completed within time-frame.

Apprehending outbreak of epidemic after the floods, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has stressed on sanitation activities.

"Each village where flood water entered will get Rs 1,000 for cleaning while each block headquarters be sanctioned Rs 25,000 for sanitation activities," Patro said.

All tubewells and drinking water sources shall be disinfected as soon as water recedes, while all flood-hit farmers would be given agricultural subsidy before the rabi crop season, he said.

Twenty-one of the 30 districts of the state were affected by successive floods in both Mahanadi river system as well as rivers like Brahmani, Baitarani, Budhabalang and Subarnarekha, official sources said.

PTI