As many as 29 people are now dead in Odisha after cyclone Fani hit the state on Friday, said a civil servant as the state struggled to help people in villages and restore water supply, power, and telecommunications.
Twenty-one people died in Puri, the worst-affected district, and the rest in other places, said state chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi. Unofficial sources, however, put the death toll at over 40.
The state government had set itself a zero casualty target as it evacuated 1.2 million people from the cyclone's strike zone.
The cyclone blew away mud houses, utility towers and lakhs of trees as it ripped through Odisha with wind speeds of more than 200 kmph. The death toll could have been more without precautionary measures, said a government official.
Preliminary reports estimate Fani damaged property and infrastructure worth Rs 1,200 crore, but the cost could rise after a detail assessment, said source.
People living in villages in the state’s coastal districts complained of food and drinking water not reaching them.
“Our house has been destroyed. We don’t have food and water. The administration is yet to reach us with relief”, said the the resident of a village near Pipli in Puri district. He said out of about 100 families in his village, only about the ten concrete houses had survived the storm.
Resuming power supply, particularly in state capital Bhubaneswar, Puri and Khurda, is proving tough as the power infrastructure has been razed to the ground.
Fani knocked down 1,40,000 electricity poles and destroyed eight high power transmission grids.
“We will restore 10 per cent power supply in Bhubaneswar by this evening and scale it up to 25 per cent by May 7”, said state power secretary Hemant Sharma. Power supply in Puri will resume on May 7.
The state government announced it will give Rs 95,100 as compensation for fully damaged houses, Rs 5,200 for partially damaged houses and Rs 3,200 for houses with minor damage. It’s supplying rice, kerosene and polythene to affected people.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited Puri Sunday and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Odisha tomorrow.