Two days after Cyclone Phailin made landfall,Chhatrapur,the district headquarters of Ganjam,struggled without electricity or water supply. And as the villagers made their way back home from the cyclone shelters,many found their houses flattened.
The official death toll due to the cyclone was pegged at 21 on Monday,with Ganjam accounting for nine deaths.
Thanks to evacuations,we escaped with minimal casualties. But it will take some time to rebuild the district. Over 2.4 lakh houses have been completely or partially damaged. We are trying to resume water supply to the affected people and supply dry food, said the Collector,Dr Krishan Kumar.
District officials admitted that relief and rehabilitation work in Ganjam would be a real challenge,taking into consideration its population of 36 lakh. Villagers complained that the cyclone shelters,housing over 3.5 lakh people,did not have sufficient foodgrain or water supply.
When Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited Agasti Nuagaon village in Ganja block today,angry villagers blocked his convoy. The government was so alert in sending us to cyclone shelters. Why cant they provide us food and water there, said Sahibani Setei,a villager.
The CM was whisked away,but senior police officials and Berhampur MP Siddhant Mohapatra were gheraoed. The pregnant women and old people in our village had to walk all the way back from the cyclone shelters. It was inhuman, said Ramesh Nayak,a villager.
The district administration plans to distribute foodgrain to all the 8.3 lakh affected families in the district from Tuesday. We are mobilising 4 lakh quintals of rice, said Kumar.
Sources in the special relief commissioners office said the state government is also sourcing around 10 diesel gensets of 250-350 KVA from corporates like Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited,Tata Steel and Jindal to draw water from the reservoir for supply to the storage tanks. While electricity supply in the urban areas is likely to be restored in the next 10 days,it may take up to three weeks for the power lines to be repaired in the rural areas. However,almost all the roads have been cleared as the uprooted trees have been cut and moved out of the way.