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  • Srikakulam heaves a sigh of relief

    May 4th, 2019

    Chinasuridu Pollaiah (45), a farmer from a fishing village, spent a sleepless night at the Chinakarivanipalem cyclone relief centre. As word spread that the extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ made a landfall near Puri in Odisha on Friday morning, he was in jubilation. “Having suffered heavy devastation when cyclone ‘Titli’ battered our area in October last, we are apprehending another assault by Fani,” he told The Hindu. He, along with other villagers, was happy with the community kitchen opened with the assistance of the officials at the relief camp for 700 people, comprising mostly fishermen and small farmers. The squally winds, with speeds reaching 130 to 150 kmph and accompanied by heavy rain, made them shiver throughout the night.

    M. Lakshminarayana, a village elder, said that due to withdrawal of high alert, most of those evacuated to relief camps left for their homes.

     Uddanam not spared

    Though there was relief in the coastal villages of Srikakulam bordering Odisha, the cyclone caused damage to agriculture fields, mostly cashew, ragi, pulses and paddy crops. The lush-green Uddanam area was not spared, though compared to Titli the loss was not much. Palasa, Uddanam and other areas produce around 1.20 lakh tonne of cashew. “Almost half of our crop was lost during Titili. And Fani has destroyed the remaining 50% crop,” Malla Kanta Rao, a Palasa-based cashew nut producer, said. After wide publicity given by the media on Fani, which is considered the most severe cyclonic system in April in the Bay of Bengal since 1976, fear gripped the coastal villages.

    Water surge

    In some villages, the sea water surge was noticed. “We saw water coming menacingly towards our village last night. Fortunately, it receded fast without engulfing our homes,” said Mohan Behera of Nuvulurevu village of Vajrapukothuru mandal. Kumaraswamy, a traditional fisherman from Kothapalem, said they waited with bated breath at the relief camp set up in a school building. “We feel completely relieved with the cyclone sparing us with minimal damage. Now, we want to resume fishing in a day or two,” he said.

    The district administration evacuated over 15,000 people from the coastal villages to special relief camps. Elaborate arrangements were made by deploying heavy earthmovers, NDRF, electricity restoration and tree- cutting teams.

    “Barring a few cases of wall collapse, uprooting of trees, electric and telecom poles, and water-logging of agriculture fields, no major incident has been reported,” said Siva Sankar, ITDA Project Officer and Special Officer for Itchapuram.