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Fani : Our Preparation and the Cyclone’s Aftermath

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Odisha was covered in devastation, after the deadliest cyclonic storm, Fani, also known as ‘Hood of Snake’, hit Eastern India, majorly Odisha, earlier this month. Winds gusting upto 200 kmph brought terrible destruction and a trail of devastation when it made landfall in the state on 3rd of May, 2019.

The cyclonic storm, Fani, brought down the city’s main power lines and left around 3 million households in darkness.  62 people have been reported to be killed due to this natural calamity (Fani) in East India and Bangladesh, till date. The storm showed its first movement on 26th April, as a tropical depression that formed in the west of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean.

Though the storm’s development was hindered by vertical wind shear but Fani intensified and reached its peak intensity on 2nd may and made its landfall on the following day, in Odisha’s Puri.

Were we prepared?

The Fani incident was a perfect example of how a storm can be taken care of. The Odisha government and the Indian Meteorological Department left no stone unturned in preparing for this life destructing cyclone.

The meteorological department tracked the movement of the storm and issued warnings for south eastern parts of India. While the meteorologists took care of timely weather alerts, Indian & Bangladesh authorities were quick enough to take appropriate steps to reduce the loss of life.

More than one million people were evacuated from the costal and vulnerable areas of the state and they were moved to higher ground and into cyclone shelters which were built a few miles inland. Emergency workers and volunteers were deployed by the government to accomplish this.

The public was informed and warned about the storm through text messages in addition to sirens, televisions, newspapers and other communication systems. Numerous trains and flights were hauled, while the schools, institutions and government offices remained shut. Though 62 deaths are reported, the toll is still contained as this storm could have been much worse.

Aftermath

Although the storm has ended but after effects continue to haunt Odisha

Although the storm ended in about 2-3 days, life in the affected areas is still far from normal. The storm has affected the green cover of Odisha adversely. Over 10 million trees were uprooted and damaged. Though the forest officials of the state have started assessing the damage done to the green cover, they will obviously require time to control the damage caused.

Cyclone Fani has been classified as the strongest tropical cyclone to strike Odisha since Phailin in 2013. Although the government was efficient enough to control the damage, yet the situation is worse than we could imagine. The telecommunication and electricity services are yet to be restored as the cyclone has done a great deal of damage to the mobile towers and power lines of the state.

Railways are reported to resume normal services from Puri, by May 12. The station, though, requires at least 3 months to get restored. Over 300 buildings and 500 factories are said to be destroyed by the cyclone, including the Odisha airport.

Insurers said that losses, so far reported, have reported Rs 2,000 crore. These claims are majorly coming from crop and property insurance. The crop damage will be assessed with the help of drones and satellites, whereas surveyors will be deployed by insurance companies to assess the property damage.

Although the storm has caused a smaller number of causalities than expected, the damage done to the property and many other things will take time to recover. IMD has been applauded by the UN Agency for Disaster Reduction for its accurate warnings that reduced the impact caused by the cyclone.

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