The Odisha government on Friday ordered the closure of all schools and colleges in the flood-hit districts till Monday in view of the grim flood situation.

The continuous rains in the affected districts - Gajapati, Ganjam, Kandhamal, Khurda, Puri, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Nayagarh and Mayurbhanj - some of which were badly hit by cyclone Phailin, has crippled relief and rehabilitation.

Water levels have risen in many rivers across the State, according to official sources. The blocks affected in flash floods in Ganjam include Chikiti, Hinjili, Sana Khemundi, Patrapur, Dharakote, and Aska. Two blocks of adjoining Gajapati district – Parlakhemundi and Mohana – were also witnessing flooding.

Thousands of people have been evacuated to safe shelters such as cyclone shelters, and school and college buildings in the flood-hit regions. The State Government had already asked the District Collectors to evacuate people and continue the relief and rescue operations.

The death toll in the present floods, which has come just two weeks after the twin-calamities of Phailin that hit several districts in north and coastal Odisha and the cyclone-triggered rains caused floods in Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Keonjhar and Jajpur districts.

All trains between Khurda Road and Vizianagaram have been halted since 10 am on Friday, Mr. J.P. Mishra, Chief Public Relations Officer of East Coast Railway told The Hindu.

The trains had been halted because water was flowing over the rail tracks between Balugaon and Chilika stations. The Visakha Express had returned from Kalupada Ghat to Bhubaneswar. A special train has been sent from Bhubaneswar to Balugaon to pick up stranded passengers, Mr. Mishra added.

PTI adds

10 killed in floods

Floods triggered by low pressure induced rains wreaked havoc in cyclone-hit Ganjam and other coastal districts of Odisha, leaving 10 persons dead and lakhs marooned as helicopters launched rescue operations.

Of the ten deaths, six, including four members of a family were killed in wall collapse in Jagatsinghpur district and four others were swept away in floods in Ganjam district, Special Relief Commissioner, P.K. Mohapatra said.

He said that around 85,000 persons have been evacuated to safety so far.

Three helicopters began rescue operation in Ganjam district where the situation remained a cause of concern as rivers Rushikulya and Ghodahada were in spate, the SRC said.