Titli: Odisha fights grim battle
Bhubaneswar/ Amaravati: At least 12 people were killed and four missing in a landslide triggered by heavy rain after cyclone Titli in Odisha's Gajapati district, Special Relief Commissioner B P Sethi said Saturday. The incident occurred when some villagers took shelter in a cave structure following very heavy rainfall Friday evening, he said. "There are reports about the death of 12 people in a landslide caused by heavy rains in Baraghara village under Rayagada block in Gajapati district." Sethi said.
Four people were missing and they were feared trapped under the debris, he said. The district collector of Gajapati was asked to visit the spot to ascertain the situation and give a detailed report, he said. After getting the report, financial assistance will be provided to the affected people as per government provisions, Sethi said. The area where the landslide took place was remote and the roads to location were blocked by uprooted trees.
A rescue team, including personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), rushed to the area which was ravaged by incessant rainfall. The cyclone had made a landfall on Thursday southwest of Gopalpur near Palasa, said an official. As many as 1,27,262 people were sheltered in 963 relief centres on Friday while the NDRF and the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were deployed for rescue and relief, Sethi said.
Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Puri, Kandhamal and Kendrapara districts were affected by floods, he said, adding Ganjam was categorised as the "worst-affected". Two helicopters requisitioned from the Indian Navy are being engaged in air dropping operation in Ganjam district, said officials.
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government Saturday asked the Centre to release Rs 1,200 crore as interim relief for restoration steps in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts that were battered by cyclone Titli. The severe cyclonic storm hit the two districts early Thursday, with winds gusting up to 165 km per hour. Heavy rainfall, ranging from 10 cm to 43 cm, was witnessed in different parts of the districts.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said, "The devastating cyclone has hit north coastal Andhra Pradesh, badly damaging the infrastructure and derailing normal life in the region, especially in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts." Naidu said that the cost of damaged properties, crops and infrastructure has tentatively worked out to be Rs 2,800 crore.