Odisha starts restoration, rehabilitation works - The New Indian Express

Odisha starts restoration, rehabilitation works

Published: 13th October 2013 03:17 PM

Last Updated: 13th October 2013 03:17 PM

With cyclone Phailin weakening, Odisha government began relief and restoration work in 12 districts, where many as 80.53 lakh people have been hit.

"Rehabilitation will be a big challenge," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.

"Top priority was to save lives and we have been successful in it," he told newsmen.

Ganjam, where the cyclone hit the land, was the worst hit district followed by Puri.

Other coastal districts Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Gajapati, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Keonjhar, Kandhmal and Nayagarh, were, however, less harmed, Odisha Revenue and Disaster Minister S N Patro said.

"We have already started relief and restoration work. Our people are already in the fields ... The state government's priority is now restoration and rehabilitation of the affected people," he said.

The government has asked the concerned district collectors to suggest to the people to return to their houses if the weather is conducive, he said.

As many as 8,73,646 people were evacuated to safe places before landfall by Phailin Saturday night.

Though many people in less affected districts like Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara have started returning to their houses, majority of them have lost their shelter.

Houses of about 2.34 lakh people have been damaged in Ganjam district, Patro said, adding the people whose houses were damaged will be provided with polythene for temporary arrangement.

Though the human casualty is seven so far, a large population has been hit by the calamity with their houses and crops damaged and cattle and domestic animals affected.

Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said besides destruction of houses, a large number of roads, bridges, electric sub-stations, poles, mobile towers and others have been damaged as Phailin pounded the coast at a ferocious 200 kmph speed.

He said road communication would be restored within a day and there is no need of air-dropping of food packets this time.

"We will take the food packets by road and distribute them among the affected people," he said.

Power supply in major towns too would be restored soon, he said, adding as many as 39 urban local bodies have been affected in the calamity.

A special task force has been set up to restore power supply in Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) area as damage reported from there is no less than that of Gopalpur, about 20 km away, he said.

"We have already started road cleaning activities in the cities. The roads blocked in Bhubaneswar by fallen trees will be cleared today," said NDRF DIG, S S Gualeria.

A total 20 NDRF teams of have been engaged in the road clearing works, he added.

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