BHUBANESWAR: At least three nature camps of the Forest department have sustained severe damage while several others have been partially affected in cyclone Fani that wreaked havoc in Coastal Odisha on May 3.
The damage to these community-managed nature camps, set up to boost eco-tourism in the State, has also put the livelihood of locals at stake.
Forest officials said the Nuanai nature camp near Balukhand sanctuary has suffered extensive damaged in the cyclone. Similarly, two out of three nature camps in Chilika Wildlife Division have been completely damaged and the remaining one partially affected.
Besides, the nature camps at Ansupa in Athagarh division as well as Mahavinayak and Olasuni in Cuttack have also been slightly affected in the cyclone.
“Though tents had been removed in anticipation of the cyclone, other infrastructure of the nature camp at Nuanai was severely damaged. The cyclone has also destroyed the greenery of Balukhand sanctuary,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force Sandip Tripathi. He said nature camps at Chilika and other forest divisions in the coastal belt have also suffered damage.
Chilika Wildlife Division has nature camps at Mangalajodi, Rajhans and Berhampura. While the one at Mangalajodi has been partially affected, the other camps have been completely damaged .
The Rajhans camp was damaged due to storm surge caused by the cyclone. Water flowing at a level of nine feet entered the camp causing extensive damage to tents and infrastructure, said Chilika DFO Bikash Das. The newly-renovated Berhampura nature camp was battered by the cyclone which damaged tents and electricity poles and uprooted a number of trees, he said.
Two jetties and as many Government boats have also been partially damaged. The damage to these three camps would be around `2 crore, the DFO said.
Dash said he was hopeful of restoration work being completed at these camps before October so that tourist flow is not affected during winter. “Early restoration will also help regenerate the livelihood support to local communities engaged in running and managing these nature camps,” he added.
The cyclone has caused extensive damage to the State’s green cover and infrastructure of the Forest department. The department has pegged the total losses caused by cyclone Fani at `537 crore.