KENDRAPARA: Cyclone Yaas left behind a trail of destruction as it battered the coastal district of Kendrapara on Wednesday. As the storm raged on, trees and electric poles, hundreds of mud houses caved in. Large parts of the district plunged into darkness as gale uprooted trees and electric poles, disrupting power supply.
Saline embankments were breached and low-lying areas inundated following the intermittent downpour. Bhitarkanika National Park, the second largest mangrove forest in the country, was badly hit as tidal waves wreaked havoc. Blocks like Rajnagar and Mahakalapada witnessed catastrophic flooding.
Sources said, the sea turned rough and tidal waves rose one meter to two meters high, damaging houses and displacing many families in Satabhaya, Gupti, Jamboo, Batighar, Suniti, Kansarbadadandua, Ramanagar and Baulakani. The tidal waves also transgressed weak saline embankments at many strategic points inundating crops in villages like Praharajpur, Olasahi, Sasanapeta, Naukana, Gupti, Bheda, Talachua, Rangani and Suniti.
For locals, the cyclone was the fiercest the State had witnessed in the recent years. Rendered homeless, hundreds of villagers in low-lying areas now stare at uncertainty. Radheshyam Barik (74) of the seaside village Baulakani, said it was a narrow escape for him when his mud house caved in after tidal waters entered the house on Tuesday night. While he was rescued to a cyclone shelter in the century-old Batighar, he is homeless now.
There are hundreds like him who lost their houses in the storm. Navigational Assistant cum Headlight Keeper of the Batighar (lighthouse) said, “We sheltered around 500 people in our cyclone shelter and offices, and provided them with food”.
Sarpanch of Dangamala, Ramesh Chandra Behera said around 300 mud houses collapsed in the panchayat. “Most villagers are taking shelter in relief centres and schools. The officials must step in and help them rebuild houses,” he said.
Contacted, District Emergency Officer Sambeet Satapathy said more than 75,000 people were evacuated which was challenging given the current pandemic situation. “Hygiene protocol is being enforced at the shelters. We are assessing damage in all areas,” he added.