Bhubaneswar, May 5 : The toll in the rarest of rare summer cyclonic storms 'Fani', the first to lash Odisha in 43 years, rose to 16 today while the critical infrastructure like power and water supply and telecom remained in a complete shambles.
While four have lost their lives in Mayurbhanj, three each in Puri, Bhubaneswar and Jajpur; and one each in Keonjhar, Nayagarh and Kendrapara, a weather official said. Meanwhile, the State Government has launched a massive restoration work across 10,000 villages and 52 urban areas ravaged by the storm that pounded coastal parts of the state, affecting nearly one crore people.
While several departments worked in tandem to manage the herculean rescue effort, the police department in the state has been getting a lot of appreciation for its dedicated and stellar service that saved the lives of thousands. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, ' Cyclone Fani is one of the rarest of rare summer cyclones to hit Odisha in 43 years. It is also one of the three to hit in the last 150 years. Odisha undertook the challenge to lead one of the biggest human evacuations in history, shifting 1.2 million people to safety. '
“ For me and my Government, every life is precious and we worked with that goal. I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart to all the volunteers, PRI members, officials who worked tirelessly and selflessly to relocate around 1.2 million people to safety, ” he said.
“ Not only we prevented one disaster of humongous proportion after hit by a near super cyclone, but we are also in the process of restoring critical infrastructure with our resilient preparedness. This is the transformation Odisha has had and thank 4.5 Cr people who made this possible, ” Mr Patnaik said.
He said, ' Houses completely damaged will be constructed under housing schemes. Loss of agricultural & horticultural crops & animal resources, fisheries will be assessed &compensated accordingly. Tree plantations will be taken up in mission mode soon after relief and restoration.' Special Relief Commissioner in Odisha Bishnupada Sethi said, ' Cyclone period is over but it caused great devastation in Puri, Bhubaneswar and other places. '
'As we get reports from the districts we see that most of the kutcha houses and old pucca houses have been blown away by a storm in Puri district,' he added. Meanwhile, UN agency praises India on minimising loss of life from Cyclone Fani. Praise has been pouring in for the disaster management authorities in Odisha for effectively minimising casualties during Cyclone Fani by carefully evacuating nearly a million people to safety.
While repeated cyclones and floods in the past have prepared the state to deal with disasters, this time, the Odisha government has thanked the Andhra Pradesh government’s Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) for sending accurate and timely forecasts and alerts to officials in Odisha, which helped them in carrying out their evacuation plans. (UNI)