Cyclone FANI in Odisha, India
A severe tropical cyclone with a gusting wind speed of 175-185 km/h made a landfall in Puri at 8:12 am on 03 May 2019. The total death toll reported by the government of Odisha was 64. The storm crossed Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, and caused damages to 14 districts of the state. The worst affected districts were Puri, Khordha, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur. More than 1.5 million people have been evacuated from coastal districts and accommodated in cyclone shelters. Safe buildings in schools and colleges were used as temporary shelters which in turn reduced mass casualties and injuries.
In Odisha, total of 16,555,507 people were affected out of which Puri, Khordha, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur districts were severely affected by the cyclone. The damaged public infrastructure including roads, telecom and KV towers, health facilities, schools, fishing boats and nets, crops (mainly cashew and coconut trees) led to the loss of livelihoods for people dependent on agriculture and fishing. (Source: Odisha State Disaster Management Authority SITREP)
Scenario in Puri district:
More than 90% of the coconut trees, advertisement boards, school buildings, mobile towers, educational campuses, roof tops of railway stations and the central bus stand (Bhubaneswar) have been damaged. Rural areas now lack power supply because of uprooted electricity poles and trees. Most of the kutcha houses (189,095 houses in total) were damaged in urban slums and rural areas of Puri, Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack.
Temporary establishments used by street vendors have been completely damaged. Telecom towers have been jolted resulting in no cellular or telephone network in wide area.
Even after a month’s time from the cyclone’s arrival, around 70% of rural area still doesn’t have power supply. Timely evacuation has saved many lives, although the relief and restoration work had been delayed because of communication and power failure and engagement in state and national elections.
Rapid assessment and relief work:
Dr. Ramachandra Kamath of AMDA India visited cyclone-hit Odisha and conducted a rapid assessment in the worst affected rural areas, namely Puri and Khordha, as well as the city of Bhubaneswar under the guidance of AMDA President Dr. Suganami and AMDA India Chairperson Dr. M.S.Kamath.
Polythene sheets for constructing temporary shelters and to cover the damaged roof of kutcha houses were an immediate requirement. Hence polythene sheets were distributed to families of cyclone victims at Chandapur, Sadar block in Puri district with the local support of Seva Bharti, Bhubaneshwar.
The assessment was also done in the coastal belt of Puri with the help of local volunteers from Seva Bharti Puri. Most of the boats and kutcha houses near the sea shore were completely destroyed by the cyclone.
Special thanks to Mr.Bhupendra, Mr.Bijay Kumar, Mr.Simanchal from Seva Bharti and Yudhisthira Panigrahi from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Child Protection Consultant for their coordination and valuable support during the rapid assessment and distribution of relief materials.
Further relief and rehabilitation:
· As there is no power supply in 70% of the rural area, the solar lamp will be one of the essential materials for children and woman.
· The children lost their text books / notebooks and others learning materials in the cyclone due to rain and collapsed houses. The text books will be provided free by the government of Odisha. But the notebooks, bag, pen, pencil and water bottle will not be provided. Hence, above materials will help students in continuing their education.
· Since monsoon rain is expected in the first week of June 2019 in Odisha and that debris from the cyclone has not been cleared, this may cause outbreaks of water and vector borne diseases. It is recommended to organize training for controlling epidemics to the *rural health workers who are working in the front line. (*Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Auxiliary Nurse Mid-wife (ANMs) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers.
· As power supply in rural areas of Puri district is not restored, solar lamps may be distributed to the families of cyclone victims.
· Educational kits for school children may be distributed as the schools are going to reopen on 19th June 2019.
· Training front line workers and local volunteers in fields such as control of epidemics and hygiene practices.
PICTURES TAKEN BY VOLUNTEERS - (Distribution of tents to cyclone victims at Sadar block, Puri district)
(Left: Damaged mobile tower / Right: Collapsed school building)
(Left: Damaged coconut trees / Right: Petrol station without rooftop)
(Left: Damaged Kutcha houses / Right: Bus station whose roof was blown away)
Publication date: 2019-07-03
By Dr. Ramachandra Kamath (AMDA India)