Nov 24, 2014

Odisha Floods 2014

3.6 million people affected. Over 45,000 houses damaged. Poorest are the worst hit.

North, central and coastal districts of Odisha are facing massive floods since August 5, 2014 due to the rise in the waters of the rivers Mahanadi, Baitarani, Budhabalanga, Subarnarekha and their tributaries. Release of excess water from dams in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and incessant rains worsened the situation.

Worst hit:

Jajpur, Puri, Bhadhrak, Kendrapara and Cuttack.


Government deployed 11 battalions of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 30 battalions of Odisha State Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF). Rescue operations were completed on August 9, 2014.

Oxfam’s team carried out a rapid assessment in the worst affected Jajpur and Puri districts, where most of the villages are still submerged 15 ft deep, 8 out of 10 blocks in Jajpur and 6 out of 11 blocks in Puri district are still cut off and can be reached only via boats.

  • 709,841 people displaced in Jajpur and 363,832 in Puri district.
  • Over 366,541 hectares of farm land is under water and the paddy crop has been destroyed.
  • Over 45,953 houses are damaged and will need reconstruction.
  • The floods have impacted 1.13 million livestock.

Families took shelter in school buildings, Panchayat Ghar (village meeting halls) and on higher grounds. Many are living on embankments in make shift shelters with their families and livestock. The food and financial security of the agrarian community has been impacted for a long term. With inadequate availability of drinking water supply, poor sanitation facilities and risky hygiene practices, there are high chances of worsening of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) situation in the affected areas.


Due to the lack of immediate healthcare, cases of diarrhea, fever, common cold, fungal infections are now being reported. There are many 0-5 year old children, lactating and pregnant women who need immediate medical attention.

Food security and nutrition:

Many from displaced communities are landless daily wage labourers with no work available at the moment. The Scheduled Caste (SC) communities in the affected villages are worst hit and have no access to food, livelihood, shelter and WaSH. They are relying 100% on government relief for food.

Poor Living Conditions:

Temporary shelters close to each other, people share this space on the embankment with their livestock. Some are living on road sides, high lands and on roof tops of concrete houses almost marooned in the flood waters. They are living in shelters made wood frames and tarpaulin.

Water and Sanitation:

The flood water has contaminated the tube wells, ponds and other water sources.


Education of children from primary school is disrupted the buildings have been converted to a temporary relief shelter in Jajpur district. In Puri, school buildings are still submerged in flood water

Government Relief:

Food aid was available for ten days when 243 free community kitchens fed over 86,330 populations with cooked food. State government mobilized 77,856 quintals of rice, 5,221 quintals of flattened rice, 404 quintals of jiggery and 1,606 polythene rolls as emergency relief. Frontline health workers were mobilised by the health department to provide water disinfecting halogen tablets, ORS packets, anti-fungal and anti-diarrheal drugs. A government survey of damage of shelter and crop is yet to start.


Map of Assessed Areas

Dasarathpur block of Jajpur district was caught unawares, as this area is protected from flooding by the embankment. The people were not prepared for the flood, the first in 50 years, and therefore do not have sufficient coping mechanisms. Many have been displaced and are now housed in emergency shelters at schools and GP Offices. Many schools are non functional as many of them are being used as shelters while some are still submerged.

Dasratpur Block residents evacuated their villages and moved to embankments along with their livestock. All low-lying areas and crop fields of the assessed villages were submerged under water. Only means of access available to Rapid Assessment team were boats provided by the administration and NGOs. But the frequency of availability of boats within the villages is low, limiting the mobility of the community to access basic amenities at block level. The block administration has provided only one boat in Kanas block of Puri district and 21 boats in Jajpur district.

Most of the households do not have food grains and are dependent on relief received from government, which is minimal. A few local community leaders are providing some food aid. In few villages, local community based organisations are also supporting those affected with cooked food.

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