At least 12 people, including five children, are feared dead and four others are missing after a cave inside which they took shelter during Cyclone Titli collapsed following heavy rain in Odisha’s Gajapati district, officials said on Saturday. Five families had reportedly taken shelter inside the cave located on a mountain at Barghara village in Rayagada block of Gajapati district Friday, they said.
While local residents claim that no one from the district administration had warned them about the cyclone, Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi told reporters: “Some people have died, according to our reports, due to landslides. This incident occurred far from the coastline… far from the areas we are supposed to focus on. This is a great tragedy.”
On Friday, two men were reportedly swept away by floodwaters in Nayagarh district, while six others went missing on Thursday a day earlier in Ganjam.
The state government’s claims of having achieved “Mission Zero Casualty” have come under severe criticism, with state BJP general secretary Bhrugu Buxipatra tweeting: “Zero Casualty claims of #Odisha Govt debunked.”