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Cyclone Fani Death Toll Touches 43 as People Stage Blockade Over Water Shortage, Power Cuts

The state’s people now pin their hopes on two central teams, which are slated to visit the areas hit by Cyclone Fani on Monday. While one team will be led by the Union power secretary, the other will be constituted by the Union home ministry.

Anand ST Das | News18

Updated:May 11, 2019, 6:47 PM IST
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Cyclone Fani Death Toll Touches 43 as People Stage Blockade Over Water Shortage, Power Cuts
The destruction caused by Cyclone Fani after its landfall in Puri on May 3. (Image : PTI).

Bhubaneswar: Eight days after Odisha’s coastal belt was left in a devastated state by Cyclone Fani, the state government said on Saturday that as many as 43 people had died in the impact of the pre-monsoon cyclone, which had packed wind speeds of over 200 kmph.

This revised death toll released in a report of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC), comes even as people staged a road blockade and assaulted a state official in protest against water shortage and power cuts in the coastal belt that was the worst-affected.

While the state government said that they restored power and drinking water supplies in urban pockets of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack districts, people Saturday blocked roads connecting Paradip and Cuttack, and the national highway linking Bhubaneswar with Puri, alleging lack of basic amenities.

Similar agitations were seen in parts of the state capital where power continued to remain elusive for the eighth consecutive day.

The largest number of deaths occurred in Puri district (21), which has been the worst affected, followed by Cuttack (6) and Khurda (5). The earlier toll had put the number of deceased at 41.

While various agencies of the state government are engaged in efforts to restore power and water supply facilities in the 14 affected districts, several people have demanded that the central government declare Cyclone Fani as a national calamity.

The Centre so far has released Rs 1,381 crore towards relief measures, but the Naveen Patnaik-led government has demanded a package of Rs 17,000 crore towards long-term disaster management preparedness in the state.

The state’s people now pin their hopes on two central teams, which are slated to visit the areas hit by Cyclone Fani on Monday. While one team will be led by the Union power secretary, the other will be constituted by the Union home ministry.

“The central teams will discuss with the Odisha government the measures to ensure time-bound and expeditious restoration of power, telecommunications and banking services in the areas affected by Cyclone Fani,” said Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is a senior leader of the state’s opposition BJP. The Union power secretary team will also have senior officials of the department of financial services and the department of telecommunications, he added.

The central teams will have a first-hand idea about the extensive damage caused by the cyclone and make suitable recommendations for sufficient financial aid from the Centre to ensure that rehabilitation and reconstruction work can be completed in a time-bound manner, officials said.

(With PTI inputs).

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