Cyclone Phailin: India intensifies relief efforts

Flooding in Jajpur district, 120km (75 miles) from the city of Bhubaneswar in Orissa

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Authorities in India's Orissa state are intensifying efforts to provide relief to some 12 million people affected by a cyclone and subsequent floods.

Cyclone Phailin, the strongest storm to hit the state in 14 years, flattened homes, uprooted trees and blocked roads in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states.

Subsequent flooding has left 100,000 people stranded in parts of Orissa.

Twenty-seven people were killed in the cyclone and floods - all but one of the deaths were in Orissa.

Reports say the flood situation remained grim in Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Keonjhar and Jajpur district, with tens of thousands of people stranded.

Disaster management workers are using boats to evacuate marooned villagers.

Air drops of food have been stopped as roads and boats are now being used to reach affected areas.

Officials said the cyclone and the floods had together damaged over 300,000 homes in 16,487 villages in Orissa.

Senior official Krishan Kumar told the Press Trust of India news agency that Ganjam was the worst-affected district.

More than 240,000 houses had been damaged, power lines had snapped and nets, boats and fishing catamarans had been destroyed, he said.

Paddy crop in farms had suffered "extensive damage" and a large number of mango and coconut trees had been uprooted, Mr Kumar added.

Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik said the government was ensuring "that relief materials, food, polythene, medical supplies and kerosene reach the affected people".

Separately, Indian PM Manmohan Singh has announced compensation of 200,000 rupees ($3,234; £2,028) for the family of each person killed in the cyclone and 50,000 rupees for those seriously injured.

The death toll in Cyclone Phailin remained low because of a successful evacuation effort described by officials as "the biggest in India's history for such an event".

The massive storm made landfall on Saturday evening, with winds of about 200 km per hour (125mph). It began weakening on Sunday as it made its way north-west.

But the intense storm has made more than half a million people homeless, state government officials said.

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