Cyclone 'Fani': Toll Rises to 35 in Odisha, Lakhs Still Without Water and Power
While a maximum of 21 people died in Puri, four deaths each were reported from Mayurbhanj and Jajpur, and three each in Cuttack and Kendrapara.
A view of the destruction caused by Cyclone Fani after its landfall, in Puri. (Image: PTI)
Bhubaneswar: The death toll due to cyclone 'Fani' rose to 35 in Odisha Monday, as lakhs of people still grapple with water shortage and snapped power supply, three days after the storm barrelled through the coastal parts of the state, an official said.
The toll was 34 on Sunday. A fresh casualty was reported from the Kendrapara district Monday, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), B P Sethi, said.
While a maximum of 21 people died in Puri, four deaths each were reported from Mayurbhanj and Jajpur, and three each in Cuttack and Kendrapara, Sethi said, adding at least 160 people were admitted to hospitals in Puri district with injuries.
Unable to get water, and as their miseries compounded with each passing day, groups of angry residents hit the streets at several places in the state capital.
Demanding immediate supply of drinking water, thousands of demonstrators staged road blockade at around half-a-dozen locations including Patia, Biju Patnaik Chhak and Rasulgarh on Monday, giving the administration a tough time, a police official said.
With the 'Fani' severely damaging the power infrastructure, a host of key sectors including banking service have virtually came to a halt with long queues witnessed outside ATMs and petrol pumps, while patient care in hospitals and works in private and government offices remained paralysed.
Amon the worst hit are students from other states as they are unable to purchase essentials including food due to a cash crunch.
Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma, who had earlier claimed that power supply would be restored in most areas of Bhubaneswar soon, said at least 10,000 manpower are required for quick restoration work, but the government at present only has 1,000 men at its disposal.
While 25 per cent of consumers will get electricity in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday, restoration of power supply in Puri will take a long time in view of massive damage caused to the power infrastructure in the pilgrim town, he said, adding more than 30 lakh power consumers were hit by the cyclone.
Under attack from many quarters facing allegation of tardy pace of restoration work, particularly in the worst affected Puri and Khurda districts and "moderately" hit Kendrapara, the state government on Monday revamped the administration in these districts by replacing the collectors with new officers.
As many as 1,031 public health facilities like medical college hospitals, district headquarters hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres and sub-centres have been damaged in the cyclone, while 5,244 primary school buildings and 547 secondary school buildings were also badly affected, the SRC said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an aerial survey of the worst-hit Puri district and adjoining areas and announced Rs 1,000 crore financial assistance for immediate relief and restoration works.
Modi, who reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and senior officials, also mooted a long-term disaster mitigation plan for all the coastal states which are vulnerable to such calamities.
The Centre will also provide Rs 2 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the storm.
In the review meeting, Patnaik submitted an interim memorandum to the Prime Minister seeking an assistance of Rs 17,000 crore and reiterated the demand for according special category status to Odisha in view of it being a victim of frequent natural calamities.
While Rs 10,000 crore was sought for disaster-proof energy infrastructure in coastal areas, Rs 7,000 crore is required for construction of houses damaged by the cyclone.
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