Brahmapur, Oct 16:
Slum dwellers here, who survived ‘Phailin’ as they were evacuated by the authorities in time, have been rendered homeless after the cyclone blew off the roofs of their homes at Khaza Street.
The 300-odd slum dwellers were evacuated by the Ganjam district administration before the cyclone hit Gopalpur, about 15 km from here, on Saturday night, but have lost their homes to the cyclone.
The affected people, belonging to minority community, are grappling to get their life back on track.
“We are fortunate to have survived but we don’t know how to live now,” a slum dweller, Sk Abdul, said.
They were sheltered at the nearby school where the government had made arrangements for food.
“The cyclone has robbed us all of our belongings. We don’t know whether we will get any help from the government,” another local resident, Sk Maqbul, said.
Corporator of the ward, Mamata Bisoi said, “We will rehabilitate them under the Rajiv Awas Yojana and provide as much help as possible to the affected people from the government and NGOs.”
Not only Khaza Street slum, but about 100 slums pockets in the town have also been affected. “I have experienced cyclones earlier also but not of this intensity,” 70-year-old Puspa Saha of Bengali Street said.
Sangram Keshari Panda, slum development officer of the Berhampur Municipal Corporation, said, “The slum dwellers have survived the disaster as we had forcibly evacuated them before the cyclone.”
Coastal villages in the district bore the brunt of nature’s fury. Around 200 houses in New Bauxipalli, predominantly inhabited by fishermen, were damaged.
The cyclone victims in the village were seen asking for relief and help from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who visited the area Monday.
The district administration said at least two lakh houses were damaged though the exact number was yet to be ascertained.
District Collector Krishan Kumar said the enumeration of the damaged houses would start soon and the administration would provide assistance to the victims.(PTI)