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Odisha Cyclone devastates Puri & Other parts, Naveen Patnaik says it was the first one in 43 years to hit Odisha and one of the three to hit in the last 150 years.

Lakhs of people have been affected, and the State government has launched massive rescue and restoration operations.
Life remained paralysed on Saturday, a day after ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm Fani, ripped through eight districts of Odisha.

Initial reports suggested 20 people had died due to collapse of walls, trees and electric poles. The Office of Special Relief Commissioner, however, had no official information to validate the death toll.

Lakhs of people have been affected, and the State government has launched massive rescue and restoration operations. After clearing road blockades along National and State highways, personnel from the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and National Disaster Response Force have started moving to villages.

As communication networks are not in place, the extent of damage could not be ascertained. Energy infrastructure has suffered a massive damage in the region. Failure of mobile connectivity has added to the chaos.

The Office of Special Relief Commissioner, however, said the first priority was to admit injured people to hospitals and restore power.

Biggest Human Evacuation’: Odisha Moved Record 12 Lakh People To Safety in 24 Hrs, Says Patnaik
Patnaik hailed each and every one of the 4.5 crore people involved in the entire process — the evacuees and rescuers — as he appreciated volunteers and officials working round the clock to pull off the feat.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 said that “a record 1.2 million (12 lakh) people were evacuated in 24 hours”, claiming to have carried out the “biggest human evacuation in history”.

Patnaik hailed each and every one of the 4.5 crore people involved in the entire process — the evacuees and rescuers — as he appreciated volunteers and officials working round the clock to pull off the feat.

Cyclone Fani was one of the rarest summer cyclones, he said in a press release, adding that it was the first one in 43 years to hit Odisha and one of the three to hit in the last 150 years.

“Because of this rarity, tracking and prediction were challenging. Till 24 hours of landfall of the cyclone — one was not sure about the trajectory it was going to take,” Patnaik said.

“However, we prepared ourselves to face all the possible eventualities. This led to one of the biggest human evacuations in history – a record 1.2 million people were evacuated in 24 hours — 3.2 lakh from Ganjam and 1.3 lakh people from Puri.”

“I would like to thank all the volunteers, PRI members, officials, and staff who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to get around 1.2 million people to safety.

“Instead of it being a tragedy of humongous proportions, we are in the process of restoring critical infrastructure. I thank the 4.5 crore people who have made this possible,” Patnaik said.

‘Fani’ made landfall in Puri with a wind speed of more than 200 kmph and gusting speed of 240 kmph. It tore apart critical infrastructure, especially power, telecom and water supply.

“Lakhs of trees were uprooted, blocking roads, breaking homes and damaging public infrastructure. In Puri district and parts of Khurda, electricity infrastructure has been totally devastated and we have the challenge of having to set up the entire electrification afresh,” Patnaik said.

The districts of Cuttack, Bhadrak, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Nayagada have also been affected.

Preliminary reports suggest kuccha houses have been completely destroyed in Puri, parts of Khurda and other districts.

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