Odisa, May 05: At least eight people were killed in Odisha after cyclone Fani, the worst of its kind in India in two decades, tore through the state on Friday. Though the ’extremely severe’ cyclone unexpectedly weakened into ’very severe’ cyclonic storm in a few hours, it left behind a trail of devastation in large parts of coastal Odisha.
However, the damage could have been much worse had it not been for Odisha authorities who managed to evacuate a record 1.2 million or 12 lakh people in 24 hours to avert large scale devastation.
Braced for the worst after the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) declared Fani as a super cyclone earlier this week, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday claimed the state had carried out the "biggest human evacuation in history".
While several departments worked in tandem to manage the herculean rescue effort, the police department in the state has been getting a lot of appreciation for its dedicated and stellar service that saved the life of thousands.
A photograph of Superintendent of Police Pinak Mishra appealing to villagers living in vulnerable low-lying areas to shift to cyclone shelter house, in Brahmapur to evacuate their homes is proof of the immense determination of the cops to restrict the calamities.
To put things in perspective, the 1999 Super Cyclone in the previously called Orissa, which occurred exactly ten years ago killed, 10,000 people.
This time, authorities were prepared beforehand. As per a report in New York Times, 2.6 million text messages were sent to warn locals of the coming storm. 43,000 volunteers and over 1,000 additional workers were deployed along with advertisements on the television and radio. 16 additional The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams comprising of 45 personnel each have also been moved.
Another image that has been going viral on social media is the photo of a woman cop driving a scooter with two women riding pillion behind her. The cop belongs to the Talchua Police Station in Kendrapara. The photo was tweeted by Orissa Police and captured the spirit of the police who ensured that no one was left behind.
On Saturday, Chief Minister Navin Pattnaik put up a post on Twitter, asking for the nation to contribute to ward the rebuilding of Orissa. He posted a link to a relief fund account set up by the government.