Even as Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik visited cyclone-affected Ganjam district on Monday to take a stock of relief and rehabilitation measures by his administration, a severe flood inundated Balasore district in the northern part of the state, increasing the state government’s tasks.
More than 250,000 people were marooned in the flood following heavy rains triggered by the waning cyclone Phailin on Sunday and the state government had to rush teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Army and Navy to rescue the flood-affected people in Balasore.
After his visit to Ganjam, Patnaik spoke to Prime Manmohan Singh and sought the central government’s help to restore power supply in the 12 cyclone-affected coastal districts. “The technical support of central PSUs is essential for restoration of power in these districts,” Patnaik said.
The very severe cyclone that hit the beach town of Gopalpur in Ganjam on Saturday night with a wind speed of more than 200 kmph devastated the communication system and power supply in all the coastal districts, uprooting trees, overturning trucks and flattening kuchcha houses.
ODRAF and NDRAF personnel restored the road connections but it will take at least a week to restore power in Ganjam, which was the worst hit by the cyclone, state government officials said.
More than 10 million people have been affected in Ganjam and the other coastal districts and about 4.50 hactares of crops worth about `2,300 crore have been damaged or destroyed by the cyclone.
There was however a minimum loss of lives — 21 till late on Monday night – due to the timely evacuation of more than 1 million people who spent the night in cyclone shelters and other concrete structures during the ferocious storm.
Hundreds of thousands of people who had been evacuated before the cyclone returned home on Monday to discover their mud and thatched houses destroyed. “I can repair my house but I have nothing to feed my family with,” said Satya Behera of Gopalpur, adding that he had to depend on the state government which has announced it will provide food for two weeks to people who have been very severely affected by the cyclone.
Paradip Port resumed partial operations on Monday after suffering extensive damages.