Cyclone Fani Leaves a Trail of Devastation (Donation Links)
Cyclone Fani, an extremely severe cyclonic storm (ESCS) that hit the Odisha coast on 3rd May 2019, has in its aftermath left a trail of devastation and anguish throughout the coastal towns, as well as the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. What originated as a tropical depression off the coast of Sumatra quickly escalated and intensified into a Category-4 major hurricane equivalent, when it reached its peak intensity around 2nd May. Fani, with unprecedented strength akin to the 1999 Odisha Super Cyclone, ravaged its way through small towns and flattened the cityscapes.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued several yellow-alert notices for much of India’s eastern States ahead of the storm. In response to the alerts, the Odisha state government, desperate to minimize casualty figures, immediately launched a massive evacuation drive. Around 1.2 million people were evacuated in the nick of time to different storm-resistant safety shelters that were built exclusively for such purposes.
The process included immense contributions from 43,000 volunteers and over a thousand emergency personnel. 2.6 million text messages were sent out ahead of the storm to warn residents of the impending disaster. Around 7000 kitchens were made operational to provide food to evacuees lodged in 9000 safety shelters across the state. Additionally, the Indian Navy had stationed naval ships and aircrafts in Vishakapatnam and Arakkonam to aid in relief and rescue operations post the storm.
The storm resulted in heavy damages to the infrastructural developments in the cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, among others. Trees were felled in one swoop, and mobile towers were plucked from their base and razed to the ground. Communication and mobile connectivity were one of the first losses the city experienced. Several high-rise buildings across the cities also suffered huge losses, as humongous wind speeds battered the buildings throughout the day.
Certain graphic videos revealed how construction crews were in terrible danger that noon – with a specialised crane swaying precariously to its side and ultimately crashing into adjacent buildings. Buses and other vehicles were tossed around with ease, and power lines snapped in no time.
The storm notched a peak speed of 250 kmph (1 minute sustained) and 215-kmph winds (3-minute sustained). While Odisha bore the brunt of the damage, neighbouring West Bengal, Bangladesh and Assam also reeled under Fani’s impact.
After being battered by the ferocious storm, Odisha has began its recovery and is making rapid efforts to bring life back to normalcy. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), in coherence with other emergency services is helping restore basic necessities across the state on a war footing.
Politicians, celebrities, sportspersons and industrialists have made generous contributions to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, launched by Naveen Patnaik, who himself has donated one year’s salary towards relief operations. Similarly, Adani Ports and SEZ contributed a sum of 25 crores to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, while ICICI and Bank of India (BoI) have given a financial aid of Rs. 10 crore and Rs. 25 lakh, respectively.
May, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs reiterated an official confirmation to
the Odisha Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), which mentioned that funds
donated to the Relief Fund by corporate houses, would be considered as
contribution towards CSR. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Odisha on 6th
May for an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas, and said that Central funds
worth Rs. 1000 crores would be dispatched for immediate relief and rescue operations.
Despite several adversities and challenges that lay ahead, OSDMA, the NDRF, the Indian Navy and other service personnel have taken up the herculean task of getting the city back to its usual jig. Positive mends are being made with every hour. Water supply to the twin cities has been restored now, and power connections are being re-established on a priority basis. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have sent over 1,000 and 2,000 staff respectively from their electricity departments to Odisha to aid in the process.
However, with hardships almost unending, it is impossible to reach out to all the affected people without each one of our help. At such a time, every penny counts and each individual can make their contribution towards the larger goal of rescue and recovery. You can also do your bit to rebuild Odisha by making your donation through any of the following methods:
Chief Minister’s Relief Fund
UPI: [email protected]
Account: Odisha Chief Minister’s Relief Fund,
Account Number – 006101057842,
IFSC Code: ICIC0000061
PayTM (works in web and app):
UPI: [email protected]
(opens in web and app, partners with Oxfam India, Goonj and World Vision India)