Balasore worst-hit: One killed, lakhs affected by cyclone Yaas

30 jetties at Talasari beach and 22 at Udaypur in Bhograi block suffer damage due to high tidal waves
Tidal ingress at the seaside Dagara village in Baliapal block of Balasore district due to cyclone Yaas on Wednesday | Express
Tidal ingress at the seaside Dagara village in Baliapal block of Balasore district due to cyclone Yaas on Wednesday | Express

BALASORE:  A youth died and lakhs of people were affected in the district as cyclone Yaas made landfall at Bahanaga on Wednesday. The deceased, a 22-year-old man of Bhaskarganja village in Sahadevkhunta, died after a tree fell on him. The cyclone wreaked havoc in several parts of the district with Baliapal and Bhograi blocks bearing the maximum brunt apart from Bahanaga. 

Thousands of people in both the blocks were stranded after tidal waves entered several seaside villages. In Bhograi block, 30 jetties at Talasari beach and 22 at Udaypur were damaged due to high tidal waves. These apart, above 200 shops at the beaches suffered damage due to strong winds.   

Chakradhar Sahoo of Baliapal’s Badatalapada village said many villagers were forced to take shelter on the roof of their houses as around 10 feet high tidal waves swept in and inundated the area. People also complained of their household belongings, electronic accessories and stocked dry food being damaged by the storm surge.

Sahoo said all the 200 families of the village were evacuated to the nearest school building and an abandoned helipad where they took shelter under tents erected by the local administration. Seawater has inundated around 260 acre of prawn gheris after the tidal ingress. At least 10 families of Kalarui under Jamkunda panchayat, who had taken shelter in the village school, were forced to move to the building’s roof after seawater entered the rooms. 

In Rashalpur village, vast tracts of crop land were submerged in seawater. Villagers apprehended that vegetable and other crops might get damaged if the water doesn’t recede soon. Ashok Patra of Chowmukh near Dagara beach said around 150 families were marooned in the village due to water-logging and property worth lakhs of rupees were damaged due to the cyclone.

He appealed to the district administration to provide food and drinking water to the villagers as the storm surge had damaged all their belongings. In Kumbhirgadhi panchayat under Bhograi block, 700 people were affected as seawater entered their villages. Vegetables of farmers, who were not able to sell their produce due to the cyclone-induced rains, were damaged by the tidal ingress. 

District emergency officer Rizwana Kawkab said many trees were uprooted in Nilagiri, Oupada, Bahanaga and Simulia under the impact of the cyclone. More than 1.5 lakh people were evacuated to safer places by Wednesday morning.

As Budhabalanga swells, scores of people shifted
Baripada: District police and administration started evacuation of families from the low-lying areas near Budhabalanga river as the water level started rising due to heavy rainfall induced by cyclone Yaas. While NDRF and ODRAF had moved 67,980 people to nearby shelter homes earlier, few others were shifted on Wednesday afternoon anticipating flood-like situation.

Sub Collector and in-charge officer of Baripada municipality P Anvesha Reddy said vulnerable people have been moved to safety and 422 free kitchens set up at 26 blocks to provide cooked food to them. Sources said, if the water level keeps rising beyond the danger level in Budhabalanga, it will flood five villages under Baripada municipality and more than 25 under Bangiriposi, Kuliana, Shamakhunta, Badasahi and Betnoti blocks.

Reports revealed that 17 areas of Similipal National Park received huge rain. While Jashipur block received the highest of 190.2 mm rainfall in the evening, 302.59 mm had been reported from Bhanjabasa inside Similipal reserve. The water level in Budhabalanga was at 3.26 metre below the warning level of 29.7 metre while its danger level is marked at 30.92 metre at Astia near Baripada town.

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The New Indian Express