By Abhishek Behera
“I lost everything, my house, my shop… nothing is left with me…. god separated me from my family and I’m all alone left in this world with no one to call as my family….”
I heard a man crying while these words were forcibly coming out of his mouth which beard a terrible sense of remorse and sadness. That man’s remorseful words made me pen down my thoughts regarding one of my worst nightmares that I had ever seen in my wildest of dreams.
Whenever something devastating occurs in our life, it does teach us a valuable lesson worth learning. A state with more than 45 million population learnt a lesson that is going to pinch them in the decades to come. Cries and moans of people in the streets were the witness to the devastating experience that the people of Odisha had experienced since more than a decade after the devastating Super-cyclone of October 29,1999.
Cyclone Fani taught the people of Odisha a lesson that is clearly visible in the sleepless eyes and their very next surrounding.
Millions of trees uprooted, corporate building bearing a haunted look with their badly shattered glass panes, Electric poles kissing & hugging the ground while the telecom poles bowing like a new Indian bride and the homes of the people almost equal to nothing…it’s a complete disaster. The city of Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack and several other affected districts are bearing a deserted look which gives a nightmare to whoever realises what had just happened on the afternoon of 3rd May. Life of the affected people has literally come to a halt with a certain kind of uncertainty about the future. The telecom facility along with the water & electricity have been totally disrupted with the market almost declaring a “mayday” situation. The lives of the people affected in this natural destruction have nothing left to cherish about. Life isn’t the same as it was before this deadly cyclone hit the state and created a massive havoc amongst the residents. The smiles on the faces of the people have vanished, the dreams of the people almost shattered with this devastating nightmare. People are having a very horrific time without electricity, telecom facility & water, they have even started to stage protests in the streets due to non-availability of relief materials and other aids as promised by the state government. They took it to the streets to showcase the problems that they were facing due to various reasons. People are struggling to survive this terrific aftermath of “Fani” due to the non-availability of bare necessities of survival.
The city of Bhubaneswar bears a haunted look with the trees lying on the roads, Rooftops lying on someone’s car, buildings completely shattered and the malls with nothing left in them. The feeling is somewhat terrible when someone compares the view of the state capital before 3rd may and after the landfall of the most terrific storm in this era. It feels as if the place was recently nuked with tons of nuclear war head. Nothing is left in these areas that existed someday.
But the fact that the Government has done commendable efforts in bringing back normalcy is worth praising. The Government of Odisha had laid down great efforts in helping the people cope with aftereffects of the cyclone with great progress in making the relief materials reach the affected and bringing back the telecom and electricity facilities to the general public. Even the United Nations has praised the efforts of the state govt. in these post-Fani relief activities. This is an epitome of a perfect collaboration of effective administration and efficient execution which is solely to be appreciated for this early precaution and effective evacuation. If we go by statistical data, the evacuation undertaken on the pretext of this cyclone, the numbers stand at a staggering 1.2 million (12 lakhs approx.) people which stands to be one of the biggest evacuation processes in the history. Timely decisions and effective execution due to efficient manpower are some of the factors that led to this massive success of the Government in saving numerous lives. During the 1999 Super Cyclone, as many as 30,000 people had to lose their lives but this time the numbers significantly dropped to almost less than 100. The early precaution undertaken by the State Government in the wake of the cyclone and its “Zero-Casualty” objective has reduced the causalities to almost negligible numbers but we just can’t ignore the people who couldn’t make it alive out of that vicious cyclone.
We are very much hopeful that normalcy will make its way into our lives with the passage of time. We shall find a way to rebuild ourselves with our contributed efforts and belief in ourselves. After every dark night there is an early dawn. The sun shall shine bright again, the soothing morning breeze shall blow once again, the chirruping of the morning birds shall start again, and all we need is a moment of patience and a lot of hopes. We learnt a valuable lesson about the catastrophic destruction that Mother Nature’s fury can cause. We the people of Odisha stand united in this time of need and are hopeful that we shall see a new dawn in our lives full of prosperity and hope.