A fresh spell of rains in southern Odisha today affected relief and rescue operations in the region, puncturing hopes of several thousand people still trapped in flood waters. The chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who was scheduled to visit the cyclone and flood affected Ganjam district on Sunday, cancelled his visit due to bad weather, sources said The low pressure triggered rains have caused fresh flood in Mayurbhanj district. Government estimates said 15 people have died so far, mainly due to wall collapse in flooded villages. The flash floods haves affected as many as 1.6 million lives in 10 coastal and central Odisha districts with 60 villages severely affected in cyclone-hit Ganjam district. As the met department predicted that heavy rainfall would continue till Monday, the state government today ordered that schools and colleges in Ganjam to be shut till October 30. However, schools in other districts, where the closure order was effective till October 28, will reopen on Monday. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said while Ganjam receives on an average 111 mm rainfall in October, this time it received 740 mm rainfall during and after the tropical cyclone Phailin, causing flood situation in the district.
Overall, the state received 277 per cent higher rainfall in October, the weather office data said. The state government was hopeful that the situation would improve soon as the intensity of the rains has started weakening in most areas. The govenrment has so far evacuated about 300,000 people and has provided cooked food to them. However, the rain has affected relief and rescue operations in several areas, particularly in Ganjam, Gajapati and Nayagarh districts, official sources said. Due to heavy rains and submergence of railway tracks, East Coast Railway (ECoR) rescheduled many train services passing through southern Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. It also decided to cancel 13 trains today. Among trains that were cancelled were the Bhubaneswar-Tirupati Express, Bhubaneswar-CST Mumbai Konark Express, Bhubaneswar-Yashwantpur Express, the ECoR said in a statement. Over 18 trains passing through Bhadrak-Visakhapatnam section were diverted because of flooded tracks, it added.