12 feared dead in landslide in Odisha

Gulf Times - - INDIA -

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.”

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