Bhubaneswar: A day after the "rarest of rare" summer cyclone Fani ravaged parts of Odisha, killing at least 12 people, a massive restoration-and-relief work was launched on war-footing on Saturday across 10,000 villages and urban areas, officials said.
The extremely severe cyclonic storm, which made landfall at Puri on Friday, unleashed copious rain and windstorm that gusted up to 200 kmph, blowing away thatched roofs of houses, swamping towns and villages, before weakening and entering West Bengal, they said.
Around 2,000 emergency workers, along with civil society organisations, personnel of the NDRF, the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and one lakh officials, were engaged in the restoration work, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement, before leaving for an aerial survey of the affected areas.
The death toll due to the calamity, which stood at eight on Friday, mounted to 12 with four fresh casualties reported from Mayurbhanj district, the officials said, adding that detailed information from many areas was still awaited.
All the four people were killed after uprooted trees fell on them at different places in Baripada, the emergency officer of Mayurbhanj district, S K Pati, said.
"This is a rarest of rare summer cyclone.... The first such to hit Odisha in 43 years and one of the three to hit the state in the last 150 years," Patnaik said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, spoke to Patnaik and discussed the prevailing situation in the aftermath of Fani's landfall, is likely to visit the affected areas either on Sunday or Monday, CMO sources said. He has assured continuous support from the Centre.
The districts of Puri and Khurda were the worst-affected, the chief minister said, adding that Cuttack, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal and Nayagarh were also hit by the cyclone.
"In Puri and parts of Khurda, where the electricity infrastructure has totally been devastated, we have the challenge of having to set up the entire electrification afresh," Patnaik said.
Though the "extremely severe" cyclone weakened into a "very severe" cyclonic storm in a few hours, it flattened houses with thatched roofs and kutcha houses, uprooted scores of trees, electric poles and mobile towers in coastal Odisha.
Hundreds of engineers and technicians were working to restore power supply, the officials said. Work was on to restore road communication, thrown into disarray with thousands of uprooted trees blocking the way at innumerable places, Patnaik said.
State Energy Secretary Hemanth Sharma said around 30 lakh power consumers were affected by the cyclone, which threw the electricity distribution infrastructure out of gear in most coastal districts. The restoration work was on in full swing, he added.
Over 10,000 electric poles were uprooted or broken in Bhubaneswar, he said, adding that efforts were on to restore power supply in 25% crucial sectors such as the airport, the railway station and hospitals.
The power network has been severely damaged in districts such as Puri, Khurda, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Balasore.
Large-scale inundation was observed at many places, particularly in the low-lying areas.