Navy launches massive rescue and rehabilitation effort after Cyclone Fani batters Odisha

The operation is being managed by Eastern Naval Command.

NEW DELHI: In the aftermath of the devastation caused by extremely severe Cyclone ‘Fani’, the Indian Navy has launched a massive rescue and rehabilitation operation to help the victims in Odisha. 

The entire operation is being carried out by the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.

In a press release, the Navy informed that two maritime recce sorties were undertaken by its Dornier aircraft which revealed widespread destruction localised around the temple town of Puri. 

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The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command personally undertook aerial survey of the cyclone affected area with the first light on 04th May and visited INS Chilka to review the relief efforts, the release said. 

Based on the aerial surveys, the Eastern Naval Command is undertaking a three-pronged rescue and rehabilitation effort centred around Puri and its suburbs in coordination with the State Government and District Administration. 

The relief and rehabilitation ‘bricks’ and ‘pallets’ (Naval parlance for containerised relief stores) comprising food material, essential medical supplies, clothing items, disinfectants, repair material, chain saws for removing damaged trees, torches and batteries, etc. have been sent to INS Chilka, a naval establishment at Odisha, closest to Puri. 

The Naval Officer-in-Charge (Odisha) is centrally coordinating the distribution of these relief materials and community kitchen is planned to be set up, the statement said. 

Simultaneously, three eastern fleet ships are undertaking rescue and rehabilitation efforts from the sea. 

''The naval ships - Ranvijay, Kadmatt and Airavat - with three helicopters are presently operating off Puri and coordinating aerial survey and immediate response from Sea through their integral helicopters. As the first responders, helicopters from the ships have been able to provide immediate support. In order to coordinate the relief efforts, the Eastern Naval Command has pre-positioned Liaison teams in cyclone affected areas around Puri, who in turn are directing the rescue and relief efforts being undertaken by the ships,'' the Navy said in the release. 

Navy further informed that with the likely opening of the Bhubaneshwar airport on Saturday, its  Chetak and UH3H helicopters are being positioned to launch rescue efforts and air-dropping of relief material to the inaccessible and remote areas. 

The deployment of the helicopters at Bhubaneshwar would enable the aerial rescue of stranded personnel to safer areas as well as access to areas without road connectivity. 

In order to sustain the rescue and relief over the next few days, the Eastern Naval Command has additional ships standby relief material.

Cyclone Fani reached Bangladesh on Saturday several hours after it unleashed a trail of massive destruction claiming several lives in Odisha from where it entered West Bengal late on Friday.

(With Agency inputs)