Fani ravaged, but well-delt
Fani came wreaking havoc close to Puri in Odisha and its neighbours on early Friday morning, but it was dealt with brilliance- thanks to the well-planned and coordinated efforts of the administration.
Termed as ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani bcame at a maximum sustained wind speed of 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph and weakened to very severe cyclonic storm by 11.30 am. Within nine hours, it weakened further into a severe cyclonic storm, but left a trail of destruction to life and property. The death toll mounted to 12 by the second day of Fani’s arrival.
The Bay of Bengal has had an infamous reputation for producing deadly tropical cyclones. The deadliest being in 1999 which struck as a Category 4-equivalent storm, battering for nearly 30 hours with 155-mph winds. Reports reveal about 9,658 people lost their lives and caused around Rs 10.86 billion in loss/damage in terms of property.
In the last 20 years, Fani was even stronger than the last one. Yet the death toll mounted to 12 lives. Though the loss/damage to property and standing crops is yet to be ascertained in terms of money but initial reports reveal the damage could be substantial. This was due to the well-coordinated efforts and pre-planning to meet the monster.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) almost pinpointed with accuracy. Tourists and local residents were asked to evacuate the coastal areas, special trains were initiated to transport them to safer zones, trains originating from other places for Odisha were stalled, and railway tracks were chain tied to prevent them from dislodging. People were evacuated, almost 7,000 functional kitchens catering to 9,000 shelters set-up in Odisha. Veterinarians were asked to make aware dairy farmers and small animal owners to shift their animals to safe places to avoid livestock loss. Measures for carcass disposal have also come to an advantage.
Even the telecom industry came to support Odisha. Free SMS were activated for Vodafone-Idea customers and Rs 5-10 loan were made available for users if they exhaust their balance in case of an emergency. It rolled out emergency helpline number and ensured its sites had sufficient fuel supply and strategic locations had fuel stocked up as well. Though the telecom department did snap off by late evening, things were almost immediately restored. Bharti Airtel too offered free SMS in the three affected states for five days. War rooms with dedicated teams were set up to monitor the impact of operations and coordinate quick recovery.
Expecting mothers were shifted to safer zones, emergency medicines and quick response teams were kept ready. 242 power back up arrangements and 494 ambulances were kept on ready-to-go mode, companies and industries were asked to make proper arrangements for fire extinguishers and other necessary rescue equipment and to safely store hazardous material within the industry/ factory campus to avoid spilling or leakage.
Not only this, the senior officers at the centre were in constant contact with the state officials monitoring Fani and even released advance money of Rs.1,086 crore to meet the crisis. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi too held review meetings on a regular basis.