BERHAMPUR: As the very severe cyclonic storm Titli passed Ganjam district around forenoon on Thursday and wind speed lowered, Ananta Moharana of Bondoro village near Gopalpur was left picking up remnants of what was their house 12 hours earlier.
Two walls of his house had collapsed and belongings blown away by the storm. The family of five including wife, ailing mother and two children with no roof over their heads are now staring at an uncertain future, at the mercy of the government.
“As the cyclone approached, we were shifted by the administration to the cyclone shelter last evening without allowing time to ensure safety of our belongings. But now after the cyclone, we have nothing left”, he said.
At nearby Keshpur village under Khallikote block of the district, fisherman Narayan Pradhan is despondent. His boat and fishing net anchored at the Chilika lake have been destroyed by the Titli rage. And, a man of sparse resources, he is not in a condition to repair the vessel and resume his vocation anytime soon. “I do not know, how I will be able to sustain my family of six now. We are completely devastated”, he said.
With the passing of Titli, the anxiety and apprehension of the people of the Southern Odisha district has given way to deep concern over recovery. The people of the region have seen more severe cyclones like Phailin and Hudhud in less than five years but the devastation by Titli has been the same. “We will have to begin our lives from the scratch again. Such repeated calamities have broken the spirit of the people in the region”, said Janardan Odia (59) of Sumandi village in Chikiti block.
While the public is yet to recover from the misery caused by the cyclone, flood panic has gripped them. The impact of Titli has been aggravated by the heavy rains and sea surge which submerged vast tracts of land and roads along the coast.
The continuous rainfall has led to floods in Ganjam district. While Rushikulya is flowing above the danger mark, three other rivers - Bahuda, Ghodahada and Loharakhandi - are in spate and blocks of Digapahandi, Bhanjanagar, Sorada and Chikiti are the worst hit.
The affected villagers of Chitiki contacted administrative officials over telephone when flood water started entering their houses. No help had reached them till filing of this report.
While the cyclone made landfall at around 4.30 am, heavy rainfall accompanied by wind started battering the district since 2.30 am. Under the impact of the landfall, trees and electricity poles were uprooted at several places in the district.
There was a trail of destruction in the beach town of Gopalpur and Berhampur, which also witnessed severe waterlogging. Power supply, which was snapped in the entire district since 10 pm on Wednesday, was restored in many areas by Thursday evening. The uprooted trees were also cleared from roads by evening. People, who were evacuated from five blocks have been housed in cyclone shelters and are provided cooked food by the district administration.
Apparently, there were 150 fishermen of Andhra Pradesh in 32 trawlers in the sea near Gopalpur prior to the landfall. While some fishermen returned to the shore on Wednesday evening, 26 others fishermen were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard personnel as they were caught in the storm.