Flood-hit people waits for damage assessment

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Orissa
Kendrapara (Orissa), Sep 20: The flood waters have receded from this coastal area over a week ago but the people are waiting for damage assessment instead of repairing their houses.

"We are advised to keep the trails of destruction intact till the revenue inspector makes spot verification of the damaged houses, which would be photographed as an evidence of the loss," many flood victims of Kendrapara district said.

"Time is not ripe for rebuilding and reconstruction. Let the officials assess our loss and give money," remarked Shradhananda Nayak from flood-hit Tikhiri village of the district. Nayak says he has infact been asked by the sarpanch to keep his broken house as it is till the revenue inspector visits the village.

"The sight of the broken house pains me ... I have the resources to rebuild the kutcha house on my own. But I will wait for house damage assistance from the government," he said rummaging through the remains of his broken down mud-walled house.

The scenario is similar in most of the riverside villages ravaged by the flood.

"Rows of damaged houses give a deceptive impression for the relief teams. Even 10 days after the deluge, devastation is made to look fresh," remarked Goutam Roul, a volunteer of a charitable organization.

Though the NGOs are ready to help to clear out the debris, the villagers insist that those remain till government officials approve of the money for house damage, he added.

Raghav Behera from flood-affected Jamapada village said many people were denied of assistance in the past though their houses were damaged due to floods.

"We have learnt bitter lessons in the past ... There were so many bogus beneficiaries in the aftermath 1999-super cyclone, the recurring floods in 2001, 2003 and 2008," he alleged.

Kendrapara collector Pradipta Kishore Pattnaik when contacted said the authorities want to ensure that damage assessment was free of discrepancies.

Revenue inspectors with excellent track record would conduct house-damage survey and the extent of damage would be assessed and estimated on the spot by a group of supervisory officers entrusted with the work.

To make the exercise foolproof each damaged house would be photographed. Besides the recipient of compensation cheques would also be photographed, he added.

PTI

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