Thousands of people, who have been rendered homeless by floods in Ganjam, Balasore, Puri, and Khurda districts started returning to their villages after water level in most rivers began receding on Sunday.

“As many as 22 gram panchayat roads of Ganjam district were still cut-off which are expected to be restored soon. Water level of Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, and Jalaka rivers is steady and there is no apprehension of flood,” said the office of the Special Relief Commissioner here on Sunday.

Except Vansadhara and Subarnrekha, water level in all other rivers in the State is coming down.

The State government also began shutting down shelters in flood-affected regions in Balasore, Ganjam, Puri and parts of Mayurbhanj. Affected villagers are being provided flattened rice and ‘gur’.

People, who had to leave their villages following floods, have no words finding their mud-walled houses on verge of crumbling. These houses have remained in water for almost a week. Most houses seem to be unsafe for living.

Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Mohapatra said most of the human casualties reported from flood-affected regions were due to wall collapse.

According to the State government, 39.61 lakh people in 7,462 villages in 12 districts were affected. Preliminary assessment says 4.07 lakh houses were damaged, while standing crop in 1.51 lakh hectares of land was affected.

Road connectivity

“After the flood situation showed sign of improvement, we have started restoring road connectivity in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts. Except a few shelters in Balsore Sadar area, most shelters have been vacated by people who are eager to return to their villages,” said Arabinda Padhee, Revenue Divisional Commissioner.

An Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT), comprising 12 Members, headed by Rashmi Goel, Joint Secretary (HR) in Ministry of Home Affairs, will make on the spot assessment of damages caused by Phailin and subsequent floods from Monday.

The IMCT, to be divided into two groups, will visit the most-affected districts like Ganjam, Puri, Balasore, and Mayurbhanj. The teams will camp in the State till October 31.

Meanwhile, the State government said since the weather was clearing up, schools and colleges will reopen from Monday except in Ganjam, where classes were suspended till October 30.