BHUBANESHWAR — Nearly 45 lakh people in Odisha have been affected by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan, officials said on Thursday as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked them to submit report on damage to crops and houses within stipulated time.
After making an aerial survey of the Amphan-affected districts, the chief minister directed officials to assess the damage caused to agriculture crop in next three days and survey of damage to houses and buildings in a week.
“The cyclone has severely damaged houses, standing crops, electrical infrastructure and uprooted trees in many districts. Steps are being taken on a war footing to restore normalcy,” Patnaik said.
The chief minister has expressed deep concern at the extensive damage especially to standing crops in the cyclone affected districts, an official in the CMO said, adding that Patnaik has ordered for repair of damaged infrastructure and early restoration of normalcy in these districts.
Stating that manpower and materials have been mobilised for quick restoration of power supply in Amphan-hit areas, the chief minister has said road clearance and connectivity issues will be sorted out by Friday morning.
Nearly 45 lakh people in the state have been affected by the extremely severe cyclonic storm, which fiercely rolled past the state’s coast and made a landfall in the Sunderbans on Wednesday, uprooting trees and flattening fragile dwellings, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said.
The power infrastructure and the farm sector have also suffered a considerable damage, while the telecommunication infrastructure is largely intact with minimal impact, he said.
The cyclonic storm, which triggered heavy rains and accompanied high-velocity winds gusting up to 190 kmph in coastal areas, made a landfall in the Sunderbans in West Bengal on Wednesday evening.
It has weakened significantly since making the landfall and moving to Bangladesh.
On Thursday, Chief Secretary Tripathy attended a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and informed him about the damage caused by Amphan and steps taken by the state for quick restoration.
He said around 2 lakh evacuees from vulnerable areas, who were shifted to around 3,000 cyclone shelters, have now returned to their homes. They included 1,885 pregnant women.
Tripathy said the restoration work is underway on a war-footing, particularly in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore, and road connectivity, snapped due to blockade by uprooted trees and electric poles, is likely to be restored very soon.
However, it will take a day or two to fully restore the power supply in all the cyclone-battered areas, he said.
Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi said standing crops in one lakh hectatre area have been damaged.
Horticulture sector has also suffered extensive damage as a large number of betel vines in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Balasore districts have been completely destroyed due to heavy downpour and fierce winds, he said.
District collectors have been asked to submit initial damage assessment reports in two days and detailed reports on the extent of damage to agriculture and horticulture after that, he said.
They will furnish a detailed report later and the government will take appropriate steps to help the farmers, he said.
Though the cyclone did not directly hit Odisha, it uprooted a large number of trees, electric poles and flattened thatched and mud houses as it hurtled towards West Bengal.
Another senior official said electricity supply to 34 lakh consumers, including 1.63 lakh of power distribution company SOUTHCO, 15 lakh of NESCO and 17 lakh of CESU, has been hit. However, electricity was restored in SOUTHCO areas and in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena said disaster response teams and fire department personnel were working round the clock to restore road communication on a war footing.
Jena said about 90 per cent of telecom towers/infrastructure are intact.
This apart, as many as 210 medical teams and 75 teams of veterinary doctors have been rushed to the affected areas.