Cyclone Fani: Death toll touches 34

Bhubaneswar: The total number of lives lost during the cyclone Fani has now climbed up to 34 in Odisha. After the extremely severe cyclonic storm battered Puri and other coastal parts of Odisha on May 3, 21 persons were reported to have been killed in Puri alone.

The State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) informed that a total of 14,835 villages under 137 blocks have been affected. Besides, 1,031 health centres, 5,224 primary schools and 547 secondary schools were damaged in the cyclone.

Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi said that 21 people have died in Puri while eight deaths were reported from other affected districts.

“We are still collecting information and the actual figure can be confirmed only after all the assessment has been done,” he added.

Yesterday, Puri Additional District Medical Officer (ADMO) had informed that 12 dead bodies suspected to be killed during the cyclonic storm were brought to the Puri hospital for post mortem but did not clarify about the details about their identities.

While four persons were killed in Baripada, four from Jajpur whereas one death each was reported from Keonjhar, Kendrapara, Nayagarh and Balasore districts.

Meanwhile, the government’s mission of ‘zero casualty’ has now fallen flat following the reports of deaths in the cyclone. Though 12 senior IAS and 11 IPS officers were given the task of tackling situation during the cyclone, cases of deaths have now raised several questions on the government’s attempts to prevent loss of lives.

Earlier on Saturday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the post-cyclone situation at the State Secretariat and claimed that the government has managed to tackle Cyclone Fani. However, he termed the cyclone as rare natural disaster in summer season.

“Because of this rarity, tracking and prediction were very challenging. In fact in 24 hours prior to landfall, we were not sure about the trajectory it was going to take due to predictions of different agencies,” Patnaik said.

CM Naveen said that he spoke to PM Modi in connection with the widespread devastation caused by the cyclone.  “People in cyclone shelters will be provided cooked food for next 15 days and attempts to restore electricity. communication and provision for drinking water is being carried on war footing so that normalcy can return,” he said.