Bhubaneswar: The United Nations (UN) and other experts have praised Odisha for its early warning systems and rapid evacuation of 12 lakh people, which helped minimise the loss of life from deadly cyclone Fani that battered its eastern coast.
Cyclone Fani, among the biggest and, according to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the “rarest of rare” tropical storms to hit the Indian subcontinent in years, tore into the coastal state on May 3.
Fani left a trail of devastation across the state, home to 4.6 crore people, where it killed at least 34 people and forced a massive evacuation.
The majority of deaths, 21, have been in Puri.
There had been only limited communications with the area, and relief officials said they not been able to contact rescue teams in Puri.
In 1999, Odisha was hit by a devastating 30-hour super-cyclone that saw a storm surge sweep 20km inland, killing more than 10,000 people.
This time, improved forecasting models, public awareness campaigns and well-drilled evacuation plans – backed by an army of responders and volunteers – have spared Odisha’s inhabitants from the worst of Fani’s fury.