Trees and electric poles were uprooted, low-lying areas inundated while kutcha houses were badly damaged as Cyclone Yaas left a trail of destruction in Odisha's coastal districts of Balasore and Bhadrak on Wednesday. Residents of several parts of the two districts, which bore the brunt of the 'very severe cyclonic storm', are staying without power since Tuesday night while many people have been evacuated to safer places by the government.
The cyclone which hit the coast north of Dhamra in Bhadrak district and 50 km south of Balasore, close to Bahanaga block, around 9 am, also blown away roofs of many kutcha houses in the districts. Officials are yet to assess the damages caused by the storm in the two districts but said that it appears that devastations have been less than previously feared.
"There has been a lot of damage here. Many trees and electric poles have been uprooted and there was very heavy rainfall," Sritam Mahajan, a resident of Soro town in Balasore district, told PTI over the phone.
After pounding the beach towns of north Odisha and neighbouring West Bengal with a wind speed of 130-145 kmph and storm surge in the morning, Cyclone Yaas has weakened to a “severe cyclonic storm" in the afternoon.
“Now, there is intermittent rainfall, though the winds have subsided," said Mahajan, 27, adding that his area was out of electricity since Tuesday night. He said he would try to arrange a generator so that he can continue working from home.
Pradyut Mohapatra, a 60-year-old resident of Balasore town, also said that there has been no electricity in his house and was apprehensive that the power supply might not be restored anytime soon.
“Strong winds started blowing early today. The wind speed reduced in the evening. Now, there is light rain," Mohapatra said.
Sangram Tripathy, a resident of Chadabali in Bhadrak district, said that the tiled roof of his house got partly blown away in heavy wind and agricultural fields near his house got inundated due to the storm surge. He said that there had been no electricity in his house since Monday night. Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said that the administration is yet to assess the damages in Balasore and Bhadrak district.
National Disaster Response Force Director General SN Pradhan, however, said that the devastation was less than what was feared earlier.
Mayurbhanj district, which is away from the coastal belt, experienced heavy rain since Tuesday night.
Siddhant Giri, a resident of Baripada town in the district, expressed concern over the possibility of flooding due to the swelling of the Budhabalanga river. “Every time it rains, the lower part of the town gets flooded. I’m lucky that we stay at the upper part," he said.
(With PTI inputs)