Bhubaneswar, Sept 22 : Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday undertook an aerial survey of the flood affected regions of his state to assess the impact of the calamity that has claimed at least 17 lives.
Patnaik did an aerial survey of Cuttack, Nayagarh, Sonepur and Boudh districts of the state.
Speaking to reporters after landing here, he said: "Free kitchen services have been started in the region and clean water is also being made available in the region. Air droppings have been initiated in Cuttack, Kendrapad and Jagatsingh Pur Districts."
Taking note of the grim situation, Patnaik said: "We have reviewed all the areas which have been affected by the floods, food materials have been sent to all the affected districts, free kitchens have been opened in the affected areas, drinking water, both in tanks and drinking water in pouches are being supplied to the people. The doctor teams are there and more doctors are being sent and we shall take up restoration work as soon as flood waters recede."
Later, Patnaik held a meeting with State Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal and other Ministers and took stock of the situation.
The State Government is also using helicopters to drop food and water packets. The authorities said that air dropping of food material is being undertaken in flood affected areas.
Despite falling water levels, the flood-ravaged areas continue to be hit by manpower and boat shortages, thereby worsening the plight of over six million marooned people. Intermittent showers have compounded the misery of the people and those involved with relief operations.
The water level is still above the danger mark in the Devi River at Ali Pingala (12.32 meters as opposed to a safe level of 11.26 meters).
The Mahanadi River had breached its banks at 61 places and floodwaters have swept away highways in some areas.
Large parts of the coastal Orissa have been inundated after authorities were forced to open dozens of sluice gates of the Hirakud Dam on the Mahanadi River following heavy rains in catchment areas. Only eleven gates of the dam remain open in view of the receding waters.
According to official sources, some 2 lakh people have been evacuated.