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Rashmi Ranjan

Even as the virus created mayhem from the beginning of the year, plunging the State into a state of emergency, natural disasters too did not miss their annual rendezvous with Odisha in 2021

The year saw it all. From cyclone Yaas to Jawad, heavy crop loss due to untimely rain besides floods   Odisha faced the double whammy of the pandemic dance of death to nature’s fury.

As we are all set to step into a New Year and welcome 2022, here we bring you the major natural disasters that kept the State on the tenterhooks last year.

Cyclone Yaas

At a time when Odisha was faced with a second wave peak of Covid 19, severe cyclonic storm-Yaas hit the State’s coast on May 26, leaving a trail of destruction and battering lives further.

A total of 11000 villages and 60 lakh people were affected by the cyclonic storm, resulting in a loss of government and private property worth Rs 610 crore in the State. As per estimation, government property to the tune of Rs 520 crore and private property worth Rs 90 crore was damaged. 

The cyclone claimed three lives- one person each in Balasore, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts—thanks to the Odisha government successful evacuation of about 2 lakh people from the coastal districts of Bhadrak and Balasore. 

On the day Cyclone Yaas made landfall, 190 childbirths were reported in Odisha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 500 crore financial assistance for immediate relief activity in Odisha after a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Flood Fury

Soon after the cyclone Yaas, Odisha was inundated with floods as major rivers in the State were in spate due to the cyclone-induced incessant rains. Baitarani River, Subarnarekha River spelt misery to Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts. World famous national park, Similipal was also deluged by the torrential flood, risking the flora and fauna of the magnificent biodiversity. 

Cyclone Gulab

Exactly four months after Cyclone Yaas battered the State, another Cyclone-Gulab, hit Odisha-Andhra coast near Kalingapatnam on September 26. Initially, more than 30000 people were evacuated to safety. Later, the number rose to over 45000 as the storm moved inland. The cyclone created panic in Odisha after several trees got uprooted and many houses suffered damage. 
A landslide occurred on National Highway 26 in Koraput district causing traffic and disruptions.

Rain Batters Odisha

As many as 21 lakh people in 21 districts were affected by inundation that arose following incessant rains triggered by a deep depression over the Bay of Bengal for three consecutive days in September.

More than 3,000 houses were damaged in various rain-related incidents which also claimed the lives of four people in different parts of the State. Farming on over 1.30 lakh hectares of agricultural land were also affected by the continuous downpour.

Cyclone Jawad

The quota of Odisha was still to exhaust after Cyclone Yaas and Gulba when another cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal started inching closer to the State. However, the people had a narrow escape as Cyclone Jawad weakened to a depression before landfall, dumping heavy rains across the State. Though not much propriety was damaged due to the storm, but the untimely rain left farmers in the lurch.

Standing crops on over 5.78 lakh hectares in around 131 blocks of 12 districts were severely damaged. The affected districts included Ganjam, Puri, Bhadrak, Balasore, Cuttack, Khurda, Nayagarh, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Jagatsinghpur,  Mayurbhanj and Jajpur.

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