Superior preparedeness and vigilance on the part of the state governmnet, Weather Office and rescue staff have been successful in minimizing the devastation that could have resulted from the cyclone hitting Odisha. But there is a limit to what humans can do. Despite the vastly superior preparation, the widely feared cyclone ‘Phailin’, after hitting Gopalpur in Odisha, has left a trail of destruction, affecting 90 lakh people, damaging over 2.34 lakh houses and destroying paddy crop worth about Rs 2,400 crore as Ganjam district faced the maximum impact. Telecom links have been disrupted by the gusty winds @ 220 kmph. Mercifully, it did not result in a major loss of lives. The storm has weakened now and has become a depression as Odisha heaves a sigh of relief.
Image Courtesy: The Hindu Business Line
The state authorities had evacuated 9 lakh people ahaed of the cyclone, possibly the largest in recent history, to cyclone shelters and schools to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 1999 super cyclone that left 9,885 people dead. Defence and paramilitary forces were deployed for relief and rehab and restoration of infrastructure affected by the storm. At least seven people were killed in Odisha before the cyclone made the landfall at Gopalpur as they were crushed by falling trees, while one person was killed in Andhra Pradesh in a house collapse in Srikakulam.
The cyclone has weakened now and is moving northwards. As a consequence, heavy rains are expected to lash Odisha, AP, West Bengal, Chhatisgarh, Bigar, MP and parts of UP.