Cyclone and Corona
It is the two way battle for Odisha now : Cyclone and Corona. While we are battling with the spike in the cases of infection on one hand, super cyclone Amphan is likely to make landfall along the coast of West Bengal and Odisha. Lakhs of people have been evacuated from the coastal districts of Odisha. The cyclone will bring heavy rainfall, squally winds and storm surges in the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore in Odisha.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has set a target of ensuring zero casualty. State government has made arrangements for evacuating over 11 lakh people as a precautionary measure. Pregnant women and ailing people will be shifted to hospitals. Several reservoirs have been asked to release water. High velocity winds may damage power infrastructure and roads but necessary equipment and manpower have been mobilised in order to ensure quick restoration in the affected areas. The preparations look proper and adequate but how much social distancing is possible in such cases is really a question.
Rewind to May 3, 2019. The Indian state of Odisha‘s coastal belt was at the receiving end of nature’s wrath when Cyclone Fani, one of the biggest, rarest of the rare summer cyclone in the Bay of Bengal wreaked havoc, blew off roofs, damaged power lines and uprooted countless trees in Puri, the nerve centre of Odisha- Bhubaneswar and Cuttack affecting 14 districts of Odisha on May the Third. Storm surges and powerful winds reaching 125mph- 140mph broke the anemometer after measuring 240 km/hr in Puri. Despite being a powerful category four cyclone and coming to notice at a later stage, the Odisha government carried out mammoth evacuation exercise a day before the landfall. Odisha, has been successful in keeping the loss of life and numbers of affected people to a minimum. This is the result of a very effective strategy of disaster preparation and quick responding.
This time too, we hope we will fight and win. Meanwhile, stay home. This too, shall pass.