The death toll in Cyclone Fani rose to 29 on May 5, two days after the “extremely severe” storm barrelled through coastal Odisha, causing widespread destruction and leaving hundreds grappling with water shortage and power cuts, an official said.
According to state Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi, 21 of the 29 deaths were registered in the pilgrim town of Puri, where the storm made a landfall on May 3, flattening fragile houses, uprooting scores of trees, electric poles and mobile towers.
The government had mounted a massive restoration work across 10,000 villages and 52 urban areas ravaged by the storm, affecting nearly one crore people, he said.
The “extremely severe” cyclonic storm, one of the “rarest of rare”, unleashed copious rain and windstorm that gusted up to 240 kmph on May 3, blowing away thatched houses and swamping towns and villages, before weakening and entering West Bengal.
Asserting that efforts were on to restore electricity in the affected areas, Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma said the power infrastructure was severely damaged in Puri, Khurda, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Balasore districts during the cyclone.
According to a State government official, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Odisha to review the situation. Modi spoke to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on May 4 and assured continuous support from the Centre for the rehabilitation work.
The East Coast Railway (ECoR) partially resumed operations on the Howrah-Chennai route on May 5. “Barring the Bhubaneswar-Tirupati Express and the Visakhapatnam Intercity Express, all trains originating from the state capital, including the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, will be running normally from Sunday,” an ECoR official said.