At least 12 people have been reported dead in Odisha after Cyclone Fani ripped through the state and destroyed the infrastructure before moving into West Bengal. The Indian Coast Guard on Saturday deployed several ships and a helicopter in search-and-rescue operations a day after the cyclone battered the coastal state on Friday.
The government is yet to confirm if cyclone caused all the casualties, but unofficial sources told Outlook India that most of the 12 people died after coming under collapsing walls or the uprooted trees fell on them.
Four of the 12 people died in Baripada, the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj district.
The district-wise break up of deaths reported is Mayurbhan - 4, Jajpur - 3, Kendrapara -2, Balasore, Puri and Nayagarh (one each).
'Fani', one of the most destructive cyclones to have come off the Indian ocean in recent years, left Puri and Bhubaneshwar in ruins.
Heavy rains and powerful winds snapped electricity, telephone and internet connections in several parts of the state and flattened at least 10,000 electricity polls in Bhubaneshwar alone.
The authorities say that power will be restored in 25% of areas in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack by tonight, but the people of Puri will have to wait for normalcy to return to their town.
The government officials are currently more focussed on getting the hospital, telephone and other emergency services on track.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard said that it has deployed its assets including ships and a helicopter in order to locate fishing boats at sea.
"While two Coast Guard ships and one helicopter deployed off Odisha coast continue to look for marooned fishing boats at sea if any, Haldia dock reports operation normal as of now," the Coast Guard tweeted.
The Coast Guard had kept all its assets on standby to be pressed into service for the rescue operations. On Friday, the Coast Guard sent its ship to Gopalpur near Odisha ferrying food and relief material for the cyclone-affected areas.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Odisha on May 6 to take stock of the situation.
He spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and discussed the prevailing situation in the aftermath of the cyclone's landfall in the coastal state.
The prime minister assured continuous support from the central government.
"Spoke to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Ji and discussed the situation prevailing due to Cyclone Fani. Assured continuous support from the Central Government ... The entire nation stands in solidarity with all those affected by the cyclone in different parts," Modi said in a tweet.
Though the "extremely severe" cyclone weakened into a "very severe" cyclonic storm in a few hours, it flattened houses with thatched roofs and kutcha houses, uprooted scores of trees, electric poles and mobile towers in coastal Odisha, with the seaside pilgrim town of Puri being the worst hit.
Patnaik, after reviewing the situation on Friday night, had said that Puri district suffered huge damage.
"Energy infrastructure has been completely destroyed. Restoration of electricity is a challenging task," he had said.
Hundreds of engineers and technicians are working to restore power supply, the officials said.
(With PTI inputs)
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