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Floods hit Indian state in wake of cyclone

Heavy rains in Phailin's wake cause river to overflow, flooding two districts in eastern Odisha state.

Last Modified: 15 Oct 2013 08:19
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Mass evacuations kept the death toll low after Cyclone Phailin hit the eastern coast [Reuters]

At least five people have been killed in the eastern Indian state of Odisha in floods triggered by heavy rains that accompanied a fierce cyclone over the weekend.

The Budhabalanga river is overflowing and has flooded two districts, officials said on Tuesday.

"Five people have died due to flooding in northern Odisha, in Mayurbhanj and Balasore," Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, the state's special relief commissioner, told AFP news agency.

Rescue teams, already involved in a massive state-wide relief operation to repair homes and restore services knocked out by cyclone Phailin have arrived in the flood zone to offer help, a Delhi-based disaster official said.

"No one is stranded. We are providing dry food packets, water, medicines, antivenom to protect against snake bites," Tripti Parule, spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said.

"A lot of homes, mostly mud and thatch huts are damaged, due to the rain and wind.

"They will be taken care of once the flood situation is brought under control."

The cyclone struck India's eastern coast on Saturday, killing at least 22 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

It hit Orissa and its southern neighbour Andhra Pradesh, bringing winds of more than 200km per hour, uprooting trees, overturning trucks, snapping power lines and flooding farmland.

Casualties were minimised after one million people spent the night huddled in shelters, temples and schools during the ferocious storm, in what officials said was India's largest ever evacuation operation.

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