At least 12 people, including five children, were killed and four were missing after a cave in which they took shelter after Cyclone Titli struck collapsed following heavy rain in Odisha’s Gajapati district, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.
At least five families had reportedly taken shelter inside the cave on a mountain at Barghara village on Friday. Residents claimed that they were not warned of the cyclone.
“Some people have died, according to our reports, due to landslides,” said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi. “This incident occurred far from the coastline… far from the areas we are supposed to focus on. This is a great tragedy.”
Senior Biju Janata Dal leader and former Union minister Chandra Shekhar Sahu, who visited Gajapati, said local authorities had advised the villagers to move to safe shelters before the cyclone, but they reportedly refused to do so, reported PTI.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik conducted an aerial survey of Gajapati, Ganjam and Rayagada on Saturday. Patnaik said he would soon announce a relief package for those affected by the cyclone.
“The maximum damage has been done to the agricultural crop, the roads and the trees,” PTI quoted him as saying. He said relief and restoration work were under way.
Sethi said at least 1.27 lakh people were living in 963 relief centres as of Friday, while the National Disaster Response Force and the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force were deployed to speed up rescue and relief operations.
The water level of rivers in South Odisha – Rushikulya and Vansadhara – have receded considerably. But the levels are above danger mark in Baitarani, Budhabalanga and Jalaka rivers in northern parts of the state inundating large areas.
Floods have caused severe damage in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Puri, Kandhamal and Kendrapara districts.