12 feared dead in landslide in Odisha
The Odisha government yesterday rushed a team of rescuers after local media reported that 12 people, including five children, lost their lives while four were missing following a landslide in Gajapati district.
The incident occurred in Barghara village when a cave in which they had taken shelter collapsed following incessant rain triggered by cyclone Titli on Thursday.
However, the officials are yet to confirm the exact death toll.
“There are reports about the death of 12 people and missing of four persons in a landslide caused by heavy rains in Baraghara village in Gajapati district. We are verifying the reports,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said.
He said they can only confirm the death toll after the team returns.
The SRC said the team would have to trek about 17km, cutting the trees to reach the spot.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed condolence over the tragedy.
“The tragic incident of landslide in Gajapati has been most unfortunate. I extend my deepest condolence to the bereaved families,” he said.
Chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said a team comprising Gajapati district superintendent of police, sub-collector, doctors and other officials have gone to the landslide area.
He said the accident spot is located at the border of Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh and Raighar block and it is inaccessible.
With opposition parties questioning the poor handling of the natural calamity and the government’s zero casualty claim, the chief minister said, “If the opposition parties want to criticise, they can do so. We are busy in relief and rehabilitation works.”