Odisha starts restoration, rehabilitation works

With cyclone Phailin weakening, Odisha government today began relief and restoration work in 12 districts, where many as 80.53 lakh people have been hit.

PTI| Updated: Oct 13, 2013, 15:30 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: With cyclone Phailin weakening, Odisha government today began relief and restoration work in 12 districts, where many as 80.53 lakh people have been hit.

"Rehabilitation will be a big challenge," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.

"Top priority was to save lives and we have been successful in it," he told newsmen.

Ganjam, where the cyclone hit the land, was the worst hit district followed by Puri.

Other coastal districts Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Gajapati, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Keonjhar, Kandhmal and Nayagarh, were, however, less harmed, Odisha Revenue and Disaster Minister S N Patro said.

"We have already started relief and restoration work. Our people are already in the fields ... The state government`s priority is now restoration and rehabilitation of the affected people," he said.

The government has asked the concerned district collectors to suggest to the people to return to their houses if the weather is conducive, he said.

As many as 8,73,646 people were evacuated to safe places before landfall by Phailin last night.

Though many people in less affected districts like Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara have started returning to their houses, majority of them have lost their shelter.

Houses of about 2.34 lakh people have been damaged in Ganjam district, Patro said, adding the people whose houses were damaged will be provided with polythene for temporary arrangement.

Though the human casualty is seven so far, a large population has been hit by the calamity with their houses and crops damaged and cattle and domestic animals affected.