Odisha may have escaped the brunt of Cyclone Hudhud, but the state government evacuated more than 1.56 lakh people in eight districts by Sunday and kept them in 1,692 cyclone shelters, officials said.
The highest number of about 57,000 people was evacuated from Gajapati, followed by 27,000 in Koraput. Ganjam, which was worst hit by Cyclone Phailin last year, evacuated about 24,000 people.
Three casualties were reported from Kendrapara and Puri. Two were drowned in Kendrpara while a fisherman was swept in sea water in Puri, officials said.
Officials said they were taking the ‘zero casualties’ approach of the government seriously and had evacuated as many people as they could. But when a team from HT visited villages around Gopalpur notified council area and Chikiti block, it found that many villagers had not moved.
“We are apprehensive of the wind, but we did not move because of our experience last year (Cyclone Phailin), where we did not get food for two days at the shelter,” said E Kamamma.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik held a high-level meeting at the secretariat in Bhubaneswar to review rescue and relief operations. “We are constantly monitoring the situation and taking all possible precautions,” Patnaik told reporters after the meeting.
There was heavy rain in Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada Kalahandi causing the water levels of two south Odisha rivers, Bansadhara and Rushikulya, to rise. Other south Odisha districts also experienced continuous rain through the day.
A detailed report regarding the damage caused by the cyclone is still awaited, officials said.