Heavy rains in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin triggered floods in Odisha today with over 2.5 lakh people being marooned in Balasore--one of the two worst hit districts along with Mayurbanj-- and several rivers were in spate.
As massive relief works moved into top gear after the storm that hit the eastern coast in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on Saturday night left a trail of destruction, mainly in the eastern state, the situation due to floods caused by cyclone induced rainfall in the two districts was described by an official as critical.
A cargo ship was also presumed sunk in rough seas caused by the cyclone off the coast of West Bengal but its crew of 17 Chinese nationals and an Indonesian were rescued today, Coast Guard sources said in Kolkata.
Major rivers like Budhabalanga and Subarnarekha are in spate following sudden inflow of water, according to Odisha Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra. Bhadrak district was also affected while flood fury loomed large over Ganjam district, the worst hit by the cyclone.
Teams from Army, Navy and IAF besides NDRF and ODRAF were deployed for rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas in Odisha.
The death toll in the impact of the cyclone rose to 27 with four people being killed in the floods in Mayurbanj and Bhadrak districts. Phailin has dissipated but the heavy rains and floods in its aftermath is a cause of concern, a minister from Odisha said.
"We are starting air-dropping of food packets in Balasore district immediately ... The flood situation in the district is a cause of concern," state Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro said.
Mohapatra said the flood situation in Balalsore district was 'critical' with flood waters of Budhabalang river inundating villages in Remuna, Balasore sadar, Jaleswar and Bhograi blocks.
Patro said besides flooding the four blocks in Balasore, Budhabalang has also inundated 10 blocks in neighbouring Mayurbhanj district. Besides Baripada, the district headquarter town of Mayurbhanj, Betanati and Badasahi blocks have been severely hit in the floods.
Hundreds of thousands of people who fled the country's strongest cyclone in 14 years also returned home to scenes of devastation, as rescue teams started repairing flooded towns, tangled power lines and tens of thousands of destroyed thatch homes.
In Andhra pradesh, officials said rescue and relief operations were in full swing and they expect normalcy to be restored in cyclone-hit Srikakulam district in a couple of days.