Monsoon Worry Looming Large for Cyclone Yaas Victims

About a fortnight back, Cyclone Yaas wreaked havoc among several villages along the river banks and coastlines. The Very Severe Cyclonic Storm, which made landfall in Odisha’s Dhamra Port south of Balasore, knocked out temporary embankments with its ferocious wind gusts. As monsoon approaches, residents of such villages have worry written large over their faces, uncertain of their fate and at the mercy of destiny once again.

The problem is especially prevalent in the Kendrapada district, where embankments are yet to be repaired in Aul, Rajkanika, Rajnagar, Garadapur and Mahakalapada areas. “We are worried as officials are yet to repair river embankments in our village,” said Sarbeswar Das of Manapur. The cyclone led to widespread flooding and inundation in the areas. Recently, the villagers had urged the government officers to gather first-hand information on the safety of embankments. However, they allege that the quality of repair work ongoing has been substandard, and is prone to damage.

As per feedback, the embankments at Belapala, Nagar, Rajapura, Koilipur, Badakota, Kankadia, Koilipur, Dihapari, Baragaon, Jarimula and other villages are also unsafe. Corruption and irregularities in the irrigation department are possible reasons for the slowdown in the development of proper riverine embankments. Responding to persistent criticism, district emergency officer Sambeet Satapathy said, “The district administration recently organised a district-level natural calamity meeting to chalk out plans to repair river embankments and protect the riverside villagers during floods. All the embankments will be properly repaired soon.”

Flooding has been a perennial problem in several parts of the state due to its geological position. However, over the years, several plans and initiatives have been rolled out for the benefit of the residents. Despite such action, concrete results are yet to be obtained.

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