Union home secretary Anil Goswami, who visited cyclone affected Ganjam on Sunday, said joint efforts by the state and central government saved maximum lives from Cyclone Phailin that lashed the Odisha coast on the night of October 12.
“We managed to save maximum lives. Now our efforts should be to reduce the suffering of the affected people,” said Goswami, who was on a one-day visit to assess the damage caused by the cyclone and subsequent floods.
Goswami cancelled his visit to Balasore district, the worst affected area by floods due to bad weather and held discussions with top state government officials in Bhubaneswar.
Seeking central help, state chief secretary JK Mohapatra handed over a memorandum to Goswami that detailed a preliminary financial loss of Rs 4242 crore due to the twin natural calamities.
Cyclone Phailin hit the beach town of Gopalpur on October 12 and devastated the power supply, uprooted trees, overturned trucks and flattened kuchha buildings in Ganjam district and the neihbouring areas.
A day later, heavy rains triggered floods in Balasore and Mayurbhanj in northern Odisha.
Approximately 1.12 crore people in 17 districts in the state were affected due to the twin calamities. Th detah toll has reached 44 people so far, of which 23 were killed in the floods.
The state government succeeded in minimising loss of lives by evacuating more than 900,000 people, but found it difficult to provide relief and rehabilitate them even a week after the calamity.
Thousands are still spending nights out in the open as their houses have been destroyed. As a result, anger has been brewing and people have resorted to road block and violence.