Flood situation eases in Odisha
The flood situation in Odisha eased Monday but thousands of victims continued to stay in relief camps, as their homes were damaged or submerged, officials and eyewitnesses said.
Ahead of cyclone Phailin, the authorities evacuated nearly two lakh people and sheltered them in relief camps.
Although some people have returned home, many were still at the relief centres as their houses were damaged severely.
"Everything is normal today (Monday). There is no apprehension of further flood. Flood waters were receding in most of the area," Odisha's special relief commissioner P.K. Mohapatra told IANS.
He said people have started returning to their homes.
The state experienced heavy rainfall and flooding when Cyclone Phailin made landfall Oct 12, and subsequently because of the low pressure formed over the Bay of Bengal last week.
Nearly four million people in 12 of state's 30 districts have been affected by the latest floods which caused rivers to overflow.
Flood water breached embankments, washed roads, damaged crops in nearly two lakh hectares of area, and damaged about 4.7 lakh houses.
There was no rain Monday in many of the affected areas and some places witnessed sunlight after several days of cloudy sky.
As the fear of outbreak of waterborne diseases looms, the government has opened 118 medical relief camps in the affected areas, Mohapatra said.
The big challenge before the government now is to help the victims to build their houses and restore the infrastructure damaged by the flood and cyclone.
"Children are among the most vulnerable in disaster situations. The continued disruption to normal life poses challenges to families to care for their children," said Katherine Manik, ChildFund's country director in India.
Children need clothes, books and nutritious foods among others. ChildFund has decided to open 15 child-centred spaces in flood-hit areas to provide psychosocial support and alternative learning areas in villages where schools have not resumed, Manik said.
The severe tropical cyclone, Phailin, devastated lives and damaged properties in more than 17 districts of Odisha. It made landfall Oct 12 night near Gopalpur in the state's southern Ganjam district, which took the brunt of the cyclone and subsequent floods.
Authorities Saturday confirmed seven more deaths in flood-related incidents, taking the toll to 60. No further death has been reported.
(Posted on 28-10-2013)