Bhubaneswar:20.10.13:Union home secretary Anil Goswami, who visited cyclone affected Ganjam on Sunday, said a joint efforts by the state and central government saved maximum lives from Phailin that lashed the Odisha coast on the night of October 12.
“We managed to save maximum lives. Now our efforts should be to reduce the suffering of the affected people,” said Goswami, who was on a one-day visit to make assessment of the damage caused by the cyclone and subsequent flood.
Goswami cancelled his visit to Balasore district worst affected by flood due to bad weather and held discussions with top state government officials in
Bhubaneswar. Seeking central help, state
chief secretary JK Mohapatra handed over a memorandum to Goswami that detailed
a preliminary financial loss of 4,242 crore due to the twin calamity.
Cyclone Phailin hit the beach town of Gopalpur in Ganjam on the night of October 12 with a wind speed of more than 200 km per devastated the communication system and power supply in all affected districts, uprooted trees, overturned trucks and flattened kuchha buildings, mostly in Ganjam district.
A day latter, the waning cyclone caused heavy rain triggering flood in Balasore and Mayurbhanj in northern Odisha by the next day, catching the state government unawares. Around 1.12 crore people in 17 districts of Odisha were affected due to the twin calamity of cyclone and flood. At least 44 people have died so far, including 23 in flood.
The state government succeeded in minimizing loss of lives by evacuating more than 900,000 people, but finds it difficult to reach relief and rehabilitate them even a week after the calamity. Thousands are still spending nights out in the open without a roof over the head.
The high-velocity cyclone Phailin that hit Odisha about a week ago is estimated to have destroyed around 26 lakh trees in the state.
“As per reports received from cyclone-affected areas about 26 lakh trees have been damaged. The number might go up as reports from a few other places are yet to pour in,” said a senior forest official.
The details process of damaged trees is still in progress which is taking time as many forest areas have become inaccessible after the cyclone, he said adding once the roads were cleared, detailed reports would be obtained from all divisions.
It was earlier estimated that about 1.1 lakh trees had been uprooted in the worst-affected Ganjam and Gajapati districts alone. With massive damage to forest areas, experts have suggested that the government should go for wind-resistant local varieties such as mango, neem and banyan instead of planting trees.
“The cyclone with high wind speed has devastated the forest areas brought down more than 21 lakh trees. This has caused severe damage to the green cover of the state. We will take necessary steps for restoration,” said forest minister Bijayshree Routray.