All hotels shut, but hundreds throng tourist resort to snap ferocious waves

Ahead of Phailin strike, the Odisha government has evacuated nearly 2,300 fishermen from a dozen hamlets in this tourist resort to safer places as the sea looked menacing on Saturday.

Hundreds of fishermen from Gopalpur, Baxipalli, Venkatapur, Haripur, Bandar and other hamlets have been provided accommodation at cyclone shelters and relief camps since Friday evening.

However, most of them said they would not vacate their thatched houses. Parimalli Shiva, a youth from Baxipalli, said, “People from our community attach a lot of importance to our tiny homes and worship the sea as Gangamma. Whatever is destined to happen, will happen. We don’t care.”

Indira Mohapatra, ICDS supervisor, posted on duty at a relief camp at new Science College at Chhatrapur (about 30 km from Berhampur), said they had evacuated 1,000 fishermen from Sana Bandrajupalli and 20 other villages.

Hundreds of people from Berhampur and other places thronged this town to capture photos of the ferocious tidal waves. Simhachalam Behera, a businessman, said, “Though it is a calamity, I wanted to see the state of sea out of curiosity and keep the picture as a souvenir.”