Odisha: Cyclone toll mounts to 57, govt pegs loss at Rs 2,200 cr

Central team visits Odisha's cyclone-hit district

Bhubaneswar:

The Odisha government Wednesday pegged the loss suffered due to Cyclone Titli and the resultant flood at around Rs 2,200 crore and hiked the ex-gratia for the kin of the victims to Rs 10 lakh each as the death toll in the natural calamity rose to 57, including 10 children.

The state has stepped up the relief-and-restoration operations, completing the repair works of about 95 per cent of the damaged roads in the 16 districts hit by the twin calamities, officials said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who rushed to the worst-hit Raigada block in Gajapati district Wednesday, announced a hike in the ex-gratia amount for the next of the kin of those killed in the disaster from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

He also distributed land “patta” (rights) among the residents of Baraghar village. Situated on a hill top, the village alone has accounted for 18 deaths, while 10 people went missing in a landslide in the aftermath of the cyclone and the flood.

Patnaik declared that the people living in villages atop the hills across the state would be provided with facilities like housing, education etc. and covered under other social security schemes, if they decided to live in the plains.

He said the children orphaned due to the twin calamities would get all assistance from the state government for their education.

“Landslide is a new phenomenon in Odisha and this is the largest landslide in the history of the state,” the chief minister said.

He reviewed the situation in Ganjam district and said his government would undertake vulnerability mapping of landslides in the hills.

Of the 57 deaths, 39 alone were reported from Gajapati district, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said, adding that the casualties mainly resulted from incidents like landslides, wall collapses and drowning.

He said 12 casualties were reported from Ganjam and two from Kandhamal district. Four persons — one each from Cuttack, Angul, Keonjhar and Nayagarh districts — were killed in the disaster.

The victims included 10 children and 19 women, said an official.

“As per a preliminary assessment, the loss suffered in different sectors, including infrastructure and agriculture, is estimated to be worth around Rs 2,200 crore. It will take a day or two to get a full report on the total loss incurred,” Chief Secretary A P Padhi said.

“Almost all the thoroughfares have been repaired and power and drinking water supplies restored in the urban areas. In the rural areas, the work is still in progress to bring back normalcy,” he added.

Padhi said medical teams were visiting the affected areas and no major health issue had cropped up anywhere so far.

Relief materials had reached all the panchayat areas for distribution among the affected people, he added.

A senior government official said the restoration-and-relief operations were being carried out with the money coming from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

Odisha will approach the Centre for assistance after an “exact assessment” of the damage, he added.

Sixteen of the 30 districts of the state were ravaged by heavy rain and floods, following the landfall of Cyclone Titli on October 11 near Palasa in Andhra Pradesh, southwest of Gopalpur in Odisha.

 

 

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