Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday said that his government’s focus has shifted from minimising damage to ensuring that relief materials reach the victims in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin.
After visiting Ganjam, one of the most damaged regions, and conducting an aerial survey, Patnaik said: “As you know, our first priority was evacuation. That is now over, so, we are concentrating on necessary relief materials, food and medical supplies, which are reaching the people.
Patnaik said that the specifics of the rehabilitation process would be addressed only after a comprehensive survey of the all-round damage is done.
“Of course, proper survey will be done for rehabilitation, for damaged houses, for boats, for crops which include horticultural crops,” he said.
Patnaik also confirmed that roads have been, more or less, fixed, and said that power would take some time to be restored in certain places due to the great deal of damage done to electrical works.
“We have requested the Government of India to help us with technical manpower, which is necessary for the restoration of power,” he added.
According to media reports, 23 people were killed by Cyclone Phailin and the storm affected nearly 90 lakh people and destroyed paddy crops worth about Rs 2,400 crore.
On Sunday, Patnaik announced compensation packages for all victims of Cyclone Phailin, and added that the rehabilitation process would start soon after the conclusion of the assessment of damage to homes and crop by district officials.
"The state government is taking all possible steps to provide emergent relief to the persons affected in yesterday's cyclone," Patnaik told reporters here on Sunday.
Making a distinction based on preliminary damage assessment, Patnaik had announced that there would be two levels of compensatory packages handed out to victims on a per family basis, while fishermen would also be compensated for their loss of livelihood due to Cyclone Phailin.
"The families in very severely affected villages in need of support will be provided food assistance for 14 days. This will be given in the shape of 50 kilograms of rice and Rs400 in cash for Dal (lentil) per family," Patnaik said.
"The families in severely affected villages in need of support will be provided food assistance for seven days. This will be given in the shape of 25 kilograms of rice and Rs200 in cash for Dal (lentil) per family," he said.
"Besides, all fishermen who were prevented from going to the sea because of the cyclone will be given 10 kilograms of rice each for the loss of livelihood," he added.
On Sunday, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Surjeet Singh Guleria said that the damage assessment was being carried out since morning.
The landfall took place at around 9.15 pm on Saturday night and the impact of the cyclone lasted for over seven hours before it moved in a north-northwesterly direction.