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Cyclone Titli: Odisha seeks financial assistance from Centre

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha government today sought Rs 4,784.37 crore from the Centre as financial assistance towards relief and restoration of damaged infrastructure in cyclone Titli that hit the State on October 11.

The demand was made in a letter written by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I would request you to kindly consider the grave situation in the State on account of the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Titli’ and its associated impacts and request you to please release an interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore to the State to enable taking up relief and restoration works of immediate nature,” Naveen said in his letter.

The CM wrote: “We have submitted a Preliminary Memorandum to the Government of India estimating the requirement of funds as Rs 2770.28 crores and seeking central assistance of Rs 2014.09 crores from the National Disaster Response Fund over and above the funds available in the State Disaster Response Fund for the year 2018-19.”

“As you are aware, the state of Odisha has been intensely affected by the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm “TITLI” that made landfall on 11th October, 2018 at Palasa of Andhra Pradesh near Gopalpur of Ganjam district in Odisha. The storm and the subsequent flood have caused damage and destruction in 17 districts of Odisha. A non-coastal district namely Gajapati has been the worst affected.”

Besides, the cyclone and floods, a massive landslide occurred in Mahendragiri hill which completely destroyed one village namely Baraghara under Gangabada G.P of Gajapati district. As many as 57 persons lost their lives in different districts and 10 persons are reported missing due to landslides, wall collapse and drowning. About 60.11 lakh people have been affected,” he added.

The Government of Odisha took all possible precautionary measures after the issues of the cyclone warning. However, IMD, Bhubaneswar upgraded the warning to a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm at 9.45 AM on 10th October. All efforts were focused on evacuation in the coastal areas since the landfall was predicted on early morning of 11th October, which was only few hours away. Due to the intensive mobilization of administrative machinery, people living in low lying areas and in kutcha house were shifted to safe shelters and all arrangements were made for food, lighting, drinking water, sanitation and health facilities. During the few hours before midnight, about 3.00 lakh people were evacuated. 14 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 26 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and all the Fire Service Team were prepositioned in the likely affected districts. Since the prediction of IMD was meant for a number of districts apart from the worst affected districts of Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada, we had to make wide deployment of our resources,” he added.

Patnaik further said, “Besides the loss of lives, there has been extensive damage to both private and public properties. 57.131 private houses have been damaged and standing crops in about 2.73 lakh hectares of land have suffered extensive damage. The damage to the electrical infrastructure in Ganjam and Gajapati districts is immense. Also, extensive damage of roads in rural and urban areas has occurred. These need to be repaired on an urgent basis.”