PM Narendra Modi in Cyclone Fani-hit Odisha to review situation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar on Monday to visit districts hit by Cyclone Fani and take stock of the situation, days after more than 35 people died and large parts of the coastal areas were badly affected by the “extremely severe” storm.
Cyclone Fani barrelled through coastal Odisha on Friday, causing widespread destruction and leaving hundreds homeless and grappling with water shortage and power cuts. At least 39 people died as Cyclone Fani, which means the hood of a snake, pummelled the eastern state.
Watch | PM Modi, Odisha CM Patnaik review cyclone Fani damage
The Prime Minister was received by Governor Ganeshi Lal, chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.
Modi will undertake an aerial survey of Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore district. The Prime Minister will then review the relief and restoration work with the state government officials at the airport when he returns.
He had earlier spoken to Ganeshi Lal and Patnaik over the phone and assured all possible help from the Centre for Odisha.
Authorities have now shifted their focus on rebuilding infrastructure in vast swathes of land ravaged by winds of up to 205kmph, the strongest such summer occurrence to hit the region in 43 years.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by cabinet secretary P K Sinha, on Sunday reviewed relief measures in affected areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who undertook a visit to the cyclone-hit areas of Puri district, stated Modi has said that all help for relief and restoration of the affected people will be provided.
Disaster relief agencies faced challenges in providing food, medicine and drinking water to affected households, while many others were still inaccessible due to disruptions in telecommunications and road connectivity, officials said.
Residents in several rural pockets of Puri, which was hit the hardest, and Khurda complained of shortage of essentials, especially food items and medicines.
The state’s energy secretary Hemanta Sharma said initial estimates showed the cyclone caused infrastructure damage worth more than Rs 1,200 crore.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced a relief package, saying that all families in Puri and parts of Khurda will get 50kg rice, Rs 2,000 and polythene sheets under the Food Security Act (FSA). For the “severely affected” category in Khurda, the FSA families will get a month’s quota of rice, Rs 1,000 and polythene sheets, he added.
This is not the first time Odisha has been ravaged by a cyclone. The super cyclone that hit the state in 1999 killed between 9,000 and 10,000 people. The second strongest, Phailin, hit the state in October 2013, and the death toll was limited to 30.
(With agency inputs)
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