The State Government on Friday asserted that there has been no confirmation of any loss of human life in the State due to Cyclone Amphan though it affected nearly 45 lakh people and damaged a large number of houses in the coastal districts.
Referring to the reports of two deaths in cyclone-linked incidents in Bhadrak and Kendrapada districts, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena said their causes were different as per the reports of the Collectors of the two districts.
Jena said the deaths of a four-year-old child and a 67-year-old woman on May 19 are facts, but they did not die due to the cyclone.
Bhadrak Collector Gyanranjan Das and Kendrapada Collector Samarth Verma said they have personally visited the houses of the two people who died.
Das said he visited the house of the child in Tihidi block and found that the four walls of the house did not collapse. “In view the circumstantial evidence, he was not convinced that the kid died because of the cyclone.
Similarly, Verma ruled out any scope of house collapse as the deceased woman lived in a pucca house. The woman had a natural death due to old age-related ailments, he said.
At the same time, both the Collectors said they are waiting for postmortem reports on the deaths. Notably, the State Government had set a target of ‘zero casualty’ during the Amphan as in other natural disaster in the past. This is the first time that there has been no cyclone-related death, according to officials.
The 21 years of the Naveen Patnaik Government has faced at least six cyclones, Phailin (2013), Hudhud (2014), Titli (2018), Fani and Bulbul (2019) and now Amphan. Patnaik’s assumption of office as Chief Minister in 2000 had been immediately preceded by the Super Cyclone in 1999, in which at least 10,000 people were killed.
Soon after taking over, Patnaik established the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and prepared a roadmap to tackle natural calamities.
However, despite the Government’s zero-casualty target, 44 people were killed in Phailin and three deaths were reported during Hudhud. Titli claimed 59 lives while 12 people are still missing. And Fani took at least 64 lives while two people were killed in Bulbul.
Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said that based on the forecast by the IMD about Amphan, the State Government made all preparations which resulted in zero casualty. Two lakh people were shifted from vulnerable and low-lying areas and this helped saving lives, he said.