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Affected people allege poor government succour

Santosh Patnaik
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A woman tries to retrieve her belongings from the debris of her house, which was ravaged by cyclone Phailin near Berhampur in Odisha, on Monday,.— Photo: K.R. Deepak
A woman tries to retrieve her belongings from the debris of her house, which was ravaged by cyclone Phailin near Berhampur in Odisha, on Monday,.— Photo: K.R. Deepak

After his house was ravaged by cyclonic storm Phailin, B. Garaya, a fisherman of Haripur near here, is thriving by collecting coconuts from uprooted trees.

“The government has just provided few bags of flattened rice and jaggery, which is not enough for us. We have no money to buy anything from outside. We have lost everything and there [has been] no income after [we anchored] our boats 10 days ago at the jetty following warning of a severe cyclone,” Garaya told The Hindu on Monday.

Even as normality was slowly returning with the reopening of shops and petrol bunks that were closed since the storm hit the coast of Gopalpur with heavy rain and gales that reached speeds over 200 kmph, people in rural areas have complained that the government succour was inadequate.

“There is no ration provided to us. We have no houses to cook anything. How will we manage with little flattened rice and jaggery provided to us? What will happen to elderly people and infants,” asked Bhimsen Behera, 60, of Bandar village near Chhatrapur.

Nearly 2,000 fishermen families from Haripur, Bandar, Ravi Kotturu, Revu Kutturu and other hamlets suffered heavy losses due to damage caused to their boats and houses when squally winds lashed the area for five hours in the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.

Durga festival, one of the big religious events in Odisha, was not celebrated in the areas hit by the storm. Several puja mandaps (altars) were flattened in Berhampur and other areas.

Power supply restoration will take another 15 days, officials said.

The storm caused heavy damage to electric and telephone towers.

Fallen trees, which blocked the roads to Gopalpur, Chhatrapur, Chikiti and other places were cleared in a record time, DIG of Police Amitabh Thakur told The Hindu .


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