No deaths due to cyclone Amphan: Odisha govt claims ahead of PM's visit
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, the Odisha government said that there has been no confirmation of any loss of human life in the state due to cyclone Amphan though it affected nearly 45 lakh people and damaged a large number of houses in the coastal districts.
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on Friday (May 22), the Odisha government said that there has been no confirmation of any loss of human life in the state due to cyclone Amphan though it affected nearly 45 lakh people and damaged a large number of houses in the coastal districts.
Though there were reports of two cyclone-related deaths in Bhadrak and Kendrapara districts, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P.K. Jena claimed the causes were different.
As per the collectors of these districts (Bhadrak and Kendrapara), there was no confirmed death due to cyclone, he told PTI.
“It is a fact that two people, a 4-year-old child and a 67-year-old woman, died on May 19 but their deaths were not because of the cyclone,” the official said.
Related news: Modi to do aerial survey of Amphan-hit Bengal, Odisha
The news comes on a day when PM Modi is conducting an aerial survey of the cyclone-affected areas in West Bengal and Odisha.
Bhadrak District Collector Gyanranjan Das and Kendrapara Collector Samarth Verma said they have personally visited the houses of the two people who died.
“Yes, I have visited the house of the child in Tihidi block of Bhadrak. But, I found that the four walls of the house were intact and did not collapse. Though it was alleged that the child died due to cyclone, I am not convinced keeping in view the circumstantial evidence,” Das told PTI.
Deeply saddened at the loss of so many lives and the trail of destruction due to #CycloneAmphan. In this hour of crisis, people of #Odisha are with people of West Bengal. Asked @SecyChief to be in touch with Chief Secy of West Bengal and extend all possible help. @MamataOfficial
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) May 21, 2020
Verma said there was no scope of house collapse as the deceased woman lived in a pucca house. The woman died in her house due to natural causes related to old age, he said.
However, both the district collectors said they are awaiting the postmortem reports.
The state government, while preparing the strategy for tackling the calamity, had set a zero casualty target.
This is the first time that there has been no cyclone related death in the state, officials said.
During its 21 years in the office, the Naveen Patnaik government has faced at least half-a-dozen cyclones — Phailin (2013), Hudhud (2014), Titli (2018) Fani and Bulbul (2019) and now Amphan.
Patnaik assumed the office of the chief minister in 2000 in the backdrop of the super cyclone of 1999, in which at least 10,000 people were killed and the state was completely devastated.
Immediately after assuming charge, Patnaik established the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and prepared a roadmap to tackle calamities such as cyclones and floods, said former chief secretary A.P. Padhi, who successfully dealt with cyclones Titli and Fani.
Despite the state governments zero casualty target, 44 people were killed in cyclone Phailin in 2013 and three fatalities were reported due to Hudhud in 2014.
Undertook an aerial survey of #CycloneAmphan affected areas in #Odisha. The cyclone has severely damaged houses, standing crops, electrical infrastructure and uprooted trees in many districts. Steps are being taken up on a war footing to restore normalcy. pic.twitter.com/u230DiMNKK
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) May 21, 2020
Similarly, cyclone Titli that made landfall close to Gopalpur claimed 59 lives and 12 people are still missing, official sources said.
In 2019, extremely severe cyclone Fani made landfall in Puri and claimed at least 64 lives, and in the subsequent Bulbul that passed touching the Odisha coast in October, two people were killed.
However, there has been no report of human casualty in the state due to cyclone Amphan, SRC Jena said.
Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said that based on the forecast by the IMD, the state government made all preparations which resulted in zero casualties.
“We shifted two lakh people from vulnerable and low-lying areas and this helped us save human lives,” Tripathy said.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister held a review meeting in Basirhat, West Bengal with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and other state officials after conducting the aerial survey.
— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2020
He announced an advance interim assistance of ₹1,000 crore for cyclone-hit West Bengal.
In a video message, Modi also announced an ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh to the families of each of those killed during the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan, and ₹50,000 for the injured.
At least 77 people have been reported killed so far in the state due to the extremely severe cyclone.
Large-scale damage to infrastructure, public and private property was reported from North and South 24 Parganas , East and West Midnapore, Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly districts.
“I announce an advance interim assistance of ₹1,000 crore for the state. A detailed survey will be conducted of the damage to agriculture, power and other sectors, besides damage to houses,” he said.
“In this time of distress and despair, the entire country and the Centre are with the people of Bengal,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)