Cyclone Fani-Ravaged Odisha: A Lot Done, A Lot More Remains
It has been over a fortnight since the devastating cyclone Fani made landfall in the state of Odisha. Despite the severity of this calamity, the state machinery managed to carry out a very impressive evacuation programme.
However, it is now that the restoration and rehabilitation of the cyclone-ravaged state take centre stage. On one hand, the Odisha government is rolling-out compensation for those affected by the cyclone, on the other, it looks like it would take some time until necessities like electricity, clean water and medical care are provided to every person and household.
Power Supply, Drinking Water Severely Affected
As per a preliminary report by the state government which was presented on May 15, the loss due to cyclone Fani was pegged at a staggering Rs 11,942 crore. The highest estimated loss at Rs 1,159 crore was reported to be suffered by the power sector.
More than 15 days since the cyclone hit the state, about 25 lakh families are yet to receive electricity. In fact, on May 14, residents of Puri took to the street to demand the restoration of power supply.
While speaking to The Logical Indian, journalist Sandeep Sahu who is at the ground zero, said, “The situation in the interiors of Puri district is still very bad. The power supply is still not restored in large areas. By the time power is completely restored in the state, it may take a month or even more. Also, the livelihoods have been badly hit.”
While the loss to the government properties and Jagannath temple is to the tune of Rs 5,175 crore, the government estimates that an amount of Rs 6,767 crore would be required towards relief and response.
An estimated 5 lakh dwelling units in the state’s coastal district have been damaged.
“The rebuilding of houses would take some time. The state government has requested the centre to sanction an additional five lakh Indira Awas houses for those affected. Apart from that, the state government has also promised house under a scheme called Biju Pucca Ghar yojana,’ Sahu said.
“Only after the door-to-door survey, when the government gets to know the exact extent of the damage caused, the real work will start. The state government has asked for interim relief, but that is only on the preliminary report,” he adds.
Cultivators and small-time businessmen are the worst hit. Sahu said, “a lot of Puri people depend on the cultivation of betel leaves and coconuts, all those have been completely destroyed. Many people don’t even have a roof over their heads. They are making use of the polythene sheets provided by the state government.”
“Of course, the government has made provision for cooked food and also some ration and cash in hand to meet the daily expense, however, that still doesn’t amount to much for getting back to normal life,” Sahu highlights.
The Mammoth Task Of Rebuilding
When asked about how the government is responding to restoration and rehabilitation work, Sahu said, “the state government did very well in terms of evacuation. They evacuated a lot of people living close to the coasts, keeping the casualty to the minimum. In that aspect, it has deservedly got a lot of praise internationally as well. However, restoration work, including power, relief and water supply, in that the government machinery was found to be lacking.”
“Everywhere you go, people are complaining that relief or compensation has not reached them or no authority has visited them yet. Many people even say that had this happened before the election, the authorities would have rushed to us, now that elections are over, nobody is bothered,” Sahu highlights.
The Odisha government announced financial assistance of Rs 95,100 for those whose houses have been completely destroyed. Families whose houses have been partially ravaged and those suffering minor damages were promised compensation of Rs 5,200 and Rs 3,200, respectively.
The state government on May 18 announced an additional Rs 1000 gratuitous relief to eligible families in Puri in addition to Rs 2000, which recorded the highest number of casualties (39).
The cyclone is said to have affected an estimated 1.6 crore across 14 districts of the state. While the number of casualties is reportedly 64, as per the state government report released on May 11, lakhs of livestock have perished in the cyclone.
GOONJ is helping people with rehabilitation the way it has done in the past two decades. The Logical Indian is supporting Goonj in their relief work and will try to ensure that relief reaches to those affected. You are needed too!
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