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Cyclone Fani aftermath: Drinking water shortage, high prices cripple life

Around one-third of the state’s crop has been lost and a huge number of livestock has died in the worst cyclone that struck Odisha in the last 20 years.

india Updated: May 10, 2019 07:00 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Puri/Bhubaneswar
Fani aftermath,Cylcone Fani,Fuel prices
A view of the destruction in the aftermath of cyclone Fani, in Puri, Odisha.

A week after Cyclone Fani wreaked havoc, life for nearly 14 million people in coastal Odisha has come to mean inadequate drinking water, skyrocketing prices of essentials goods, almost no electricity, limited mobile connectivity and ATMs running out of cash.

On Thursday, there were unusually long queues outside ATMs, which are running on diesel generator sets. The gensets cannot run for more than a few hours at a time as fuel is not easily available. Fuel stations in the state capital and epicentre of the cyclone, Puri, are open for only five to six hours because of scarcity of diesel and petrol, fuel pump owners said requesting not to be named.

Around one-third of the state’s crop has been lost and a huge number of livestock has died in the worst cyclone that struck Odisha in the last 20 years. Odisha information and public relations secretary, Sanjay Kumar Singh, said at least 21.75 lakh chickens had been killed. Assessments were going on and arriving at final figures would take time, he said.

In Dhanipur vilage of Puri’s Pipili block, poultry farmer Niranjan Mohapatra lost all his 7,000 birds. “Each adult bird would have sold for Rs150 at least,” said Mohapatra, who began poultry farming in 1989. In Madhipur village of Pipili, poultry farmer Dwarika Narayan Gadanayak tried his best to save his 3000 birds but failed. He said he had taken a loan of Rs 3 lakh from a bank and mortgaged his wife’s gold jewellery to run the poultry farm. “It will be difficult for me to sustain my family without government help now,” he said. On crop loss, Odisha information secretary Singh said about 1,52,985 hectares covering 88 blocks in 14 districts had been affected and one-third of the crop damaged, causing an estimated loss of Rs145.45 crore.

“We are back to the medieval days even though we are living in modern apartments,” said a Bhubaneswar resident, Amit Panda, who was able to withdraw money from an ATM after waiting for almost six hours.

First Published: May 10, 2019 07:00 IST