Relief and pain rain from the sky

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Ashis Senapati, TNN | Sep 16, 2011, 09.18AM IST

Kendrapada: Uma Satapathy (52) and his neighbours in a flood-hit Kendrapada village were starving for four days. When suddenly they heard the helicopter approaching. They knew food will be air-dropped.

And these villagers of Jagannathpur in Garadapur block rushed towards the sound and gathered on dry land. When the packets started streaming from the sky, they scattered to collect them. During this time, a sack of flattened rice fell on Uma. Marooned, he could not be taken to a doctor. Some villagers shifted him to a cyclone shelter and gave him some medicines and food. A day after, his relatives managed to admit him in a Community Health Centre (CHC) at Patkura. "My sons and wife were hungry for three days. So I rushed for the food," Uma said.

Subhashree of Jagadalpur village in the same block sustained serious head and neck injuries when a sackful of flattened rice and water pouches fell on her from the sky.

The same fate awaited Deepak Sahoo (23) of Teramanapur village and Satrughan Tarei (34)of Balarampur in Jagatsinghpur's Kujang block. Deepak suffered head injuries and Satrughan was also hurt.

"We have told people not to rush to the air-dropping sites. But many villagers tried to take as much as they could," Kendrapada collector P K Patnaik said. Another official said those injured will be taken care of.

The former chairman of Mahakalapada block, Balaram Parida, complained, "In some marooned areas helicopter dropped food bags in the water. As a result, villagers did not get anything."

But Trilochan Das of Garadapur had a word of appreciation for the government. "Though few persons were injured during air-dropping in the flood-hit areas, thousands were grateful to the authorities for arranging helicopters to drop food."