Odisha Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra today admitted the government was caught unawares by a sudden surge in river waters in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts in the aftermath of the cyclone Phailin.
"We could not imagine that the water level in river Budhabalang will suddenly rise to such an extent. At about 9 AM yesterday there was nothing wrong, but suddenly to our surprise at 12 noon water started gushing into Madhuban area of Baripada town," Mohapatra told reporters.
The senior officer was responding to a question on the government's preparedness for the flood after cyclone.
Mohapatra also admitted that flood water surged into the district headquarter hospital in the town. The hospital authorities had to shift the in-door patients to the first floor of the building.
This apart, flood water entered into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). "We were planning to shift the children, but by grace of God, water receded," Mohapatra said.
Lack of preparedness for the impending flood on the part of the authorities has been criticised by the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) here.
"How can the water level in a river rise suddenly? What happened in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts only speaks volumes about inefficiency and lack of foresight of the authorities," alleged OPCC president Jaydev Jena.
"IMD had been forecasting that heavy rain will occur along with cyclone. From these words of IMD, the authorities should have been alert. But, they ignored the warning which led to such a situation in Mayurbhanj and Balasore," said Samarendra Ray, a resident of Baripada town.
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.