Ramakanta Biswas

Odisha is vulnerable to cyclonic activities with recurring natural disasters affecting the lives and livelihood of lakhs of people in the coastal belts of the state every year.  

As the state braces up for another probable cyclonic storm, here is a look at the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani that slammed the eastern Indian state on this day in 2019.  

On May 3, 2019, cyclone Fani had made landfall at around 8 am south of Puri on the Odisha coast at a wind speed of about 200 kmph wreaking havoc in the state. It was the worst tropical cyclone to strike the State since the 1999 super cyclone that had killed nearly 10,000 people.

As the cyclone clocks four years, IMD scientist Umashankar Das took to the Twitter to recall the devastation left by the tropical cyclone. "4'years back on today's date #FANI was the most ever intense #Cyclonicstorm that crossed #Odisha coast in premonsoon season. It has mercilessly chewed up the infrastructure of several coastal districts including the capital city #BHUBABANESWAR." he tweeted. 

As per the state government data, Cyclone Fani had caused a loss of an estimate Rs 9,336.26 crore in the State. The cyclonic storm devastated as many as 20,367 villages in 14 coastal districts of Odisha. Besides, the cyclone affected 1.6 crore people and damaged 1.88 lakh hectares of agricultural land.

"A total of 5,56,761 houses have either been fully or severely or partially damaged in the cyclone while 64 people lost their lives. Twelve persons received grievous injuries and the cyclone killed 2,650 large animals, 3,631 small animals and 53,26,905 poultry birds," then Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) BP Sethi had said quoting the final damage assessment report.

Now, with another probable cyclone is brewing in the southeast Bay of Bengal, the Odisha government has put the district administrations on alert for effective handling of any emergency situation arising out of the weather system.

As per the latest forecast, a cyclonic circulation is likely to develop over southeast Bay of Bengal around May 6. Under its influence, a low pressure system is likely to form during subsequently 48 hours. However, a clear picture whether the system will intensify into cyclone or not is yet to emerge.