Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday made an aerial survey of cyclone Amaphan-affected areas in the state and expressed deep concern over extensive damages, especially to the standing crops. He ordered early repair of damaged infrastructure and restoration of normalcy in the affected districts.
Nearly 45 lakh people in Odisha have been affected by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan, which fiercely rolled past the state coast and made a landfall in the Sunderbans, uprooting trees and flattening fragile dwellings, a senior official said on Thursday.
The power infrastructure and the farm sector have also suffered a considerable damage, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said. However officials said the telecom infrastructure is largely intact.
While road clearance and connectivity issues are likely to be sorted out by Friday morning, power supply in CESU areas could be restored in the next 24 hours and NESCO areas in 72 hours. Manpower and material have been mobilised for restoration work.
The Chief Minister asked for crop damage assessment to be completed in three days and survey of damages to houses and buildings in a week.
The Chief Minister also expressed deep grief at the loss of lives and damages to properties in West Bengal. The people of Odisha stood with the people of West Bengal at this hour of crisis, he said.
Extending a helping hand to the neighbouring state, Patnaik asked the Odisha Chief Secretary to be in touch with the West Bengal Chief Secretary and offer all possible support.
The cyclonic storm, which triggered heavy rains and accompanied high-velocity winds gusting up to 190 kmph in coastal areas, made a landfall in the Sunderbans in West Bengal on Wednesday evening. It has weakened significantly since making the landfall and moved to Bangladesh as a cyclonic storm.
On Thursday, Chief Secretary Tripathy attended a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and informed him about the damage caused by Amphan (Sky).
He said the cyclone has affected over 44.80 lakh people in 1,500 gram panchayats, despite the Odisha government evacuating around 2 lakh people from vulnerable areas ahead of the landfall.
Tripathy said the restoration work is in underway on a war-footing, particularly in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore, and road connectivity is likely to be restored shortly.
But it will take a day or two to fully restore the power supply, he said.
Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi said about 1 lakh hectares of standing crops have been damaged.
District collectors have been asked to send submit initial damage assessment reports in two days and send detailed reports about the extent of damage to agriculture and horticulture after that, he said.
Though the cyclone did not directly hit Odisha, it uprooted a large number of trees, electric poles and flattened thatched and mud houses as it hurtled towards West Bengal.
Another senior official said electricity supply to 34 lakh consumers, including 1.63 lakh of power distribution company SOUTHCO, 15 lakh of NESCO and 17 lakh of CESU, has been hit. However, electricity was restored in SOUTHCO areas and in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena said disaster response teams and fire department personnel were working to restore road communication on a war footing.
Jena said about 90 per cent of telecom towers/infrastructure are intact.