Heavy rain triggers floods in Odisha, thousands evacuated

Bhubaneswar, Oct 14 (IANS) Heavy rain brought by cyclone Phailin Sunday triggered floods in Odisha, forcing authorities to evacuate thousands of people after rain water entered their homes, officials said Monday.

Rescue and relief officials were sent to Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts where the flood water of the Budha Balanga and Baitarani rivers devastated homes, submerged thousands of acres of standing paddy crops, Surya Narayan Patro, Odisha's revenue and disaster management minister, told IANS.

Many other districts also face the fear of flooding as water level in other rivers were rising, he said.

Flood water entered into Baripada town, the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj Sunday and inundated hundreds of houses. Many houses were under five-six feet of water and the residents took shelter on the roof top.

"Almost half of the town is under water. 3,000 people have been evacuated" Mayurbhanj district collector Patil Rajesh Pravakar told IANS.

Large swathe of agricultural lands and houses located in the low laying areas were also submerged in Balasore district.

"We have dispatched rescue and relief team to the area," a senior official of the state revenue department said here.

One more death has been reported, taking number of deaths due to the pre-and-post cyclone devastation in the state to 21, he said.

The latest death took place in Balasore, he said. Two people were drown in the flood water, while one was rescued another died, he added.

The very severe tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal which made landfall Saturday night near Gopalpur in state's Ganjam district has left behind a trail of destruction in several coastal districts of Odisha.

The worst hit districts include Ganjam, Puri, khordha and Gajapati.

Although damage to properties were estimated at several crores of rupees, loss of human lives was minimal in comparison to the 1999 super cyclone, in which more than ten thousand people were killed.

The less causality this time was due to large scale evacuation before the disaster, officials said.

Nearly nine lakh people from the low laying areas of the coasts were evacuated and sheltered in safer places hours before the cyclone made landfall.

While some of them returned to their homes, large number of people were still in relief camps and cyclone shelters as their houses were damaged.

According to preliminary government estimate, more than two lakh houses have been damaged in the worst hit Ganjam district.

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