Relief work stepped up in Orissa as flood water recedes

September 26th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 26 (IANS) Relief efforts were stepped up in Orissa after water began to recede in the flood-hit districts where over four million people were affected, an official said Friday.Floods in the Mahanadi river and its tributaries following incessant rains have inundated large areas in 19 of 30 districts in the state.

At least 56 people were killed in the last week, mostly by drowning and house collapse, while four people are still missing.

The worst-hit areas are the coastal districts of Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack and Puri where tens of thousands of victims are still taking shelter on embankments, high rise buildings and national highways.

“Flood waters started receding in several parts of the affected areas Friday and relief works were stepped up,” state revenue secretary G.V. Venugopala Sarma told IANS.

“All areas are now within our reach. Some places where we cannot reach through boats or by roads, we are reaching the victims by dropping relief material using helicopters,” he said.

As filthy water from the floods could spread diseases, the government is making every effort to provide safe drinking water and medicines, an official said.

Over 20,000 people were already treated over past two days for water-borne diseases including diarrhoea, respiratory track infections and skin ailments, he added.

A large number of doctors were camping in the affected areas.

“The next one week will be challenging for us,” said a doctor camping in worst-hit Kendrapada district.

At least 377,000 people were evacuated in the past five days that damaged an estimated 134,000 houses.

Many victims said they have not received any relief, while some said they have received inadequate relief.

According to a preliminary estimate by the state government, the losses from the floods would be over Rs.24 billion.

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