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Cyclone: Just another annual affair for Odisha

The news has already been sent out that another cyclone will hit the coast of Odisha in the first week of may. All my concerned friends from other States are calling up and asking how my family is doing and if we are prepared for the cyclone. Or do We have all the necessary goods and materials?

 I am on the other end be like " Oh! it's back again !". I mean you can't blame me for being so easy on this. I know cyclones are. Serious thing and it can literally destroy people's livelihood. After all It's a natural calamity. What else do We expect from it?

Let me tell you an interesting thing about Odisha. Since 1999 CYCLONE has kind of become a part of who we odia people are. It's a part of us now and it is something we all look forward to every year. Not in a good way, mostly irritated but we do. Now you Must be thinking I have lost my mind or something. Like how this is possible for people to look forward to a disaster. I get it. I will answer all of your questions.

Before that let's start off with some history. Well in 1999, Odisha saw its first ever natural disasters. I mean I am sure there might have been before but this one had huge impact and actually a recorded one. Around 25 of October 1999, odisha was hit by a super Cyclone which killed more than 10000 recorded. It is believed that the total was even more. The cyclone was predicted but due to lack of weather forecasting technology in the 90s then speed or scale of the Cyclone wasn't able to be forecasted. And lack of preparation from the side of government and the People itself made the whole situation worse but the world came to rescue us. Relief materials from different countries came in and even the neighbouring states became great help especially Andra Pradesh. We lost a huge amount of our population in this calamity but this calamity became the foundation of odisha. It taught us to be prepared for the shortcoming. It has taught us that even if our ship is snicked. We should learn to swim.

Even after that Odisha experienced a lot of cyclones but minor ones. The government and the People were always on alert even if there were some minor ones. People recovered from that traumatic memory but years later around 5th of October 2013 Odisha was hit by another cyclone Phailin. It was formed around the gulf of thailand which travelled all the way to the coast of odisha. Luckily, the technology was now evolved and had become more advanced for it to make a close approx predictions on the scale of the Cyclone. The government announced it to be another deadly Cyclone but precaution and prevention methods were adapted early. I remember it to be my first major cyclone experience. How everyone was in panic but at the same time in patience to be prepared for the calamity to hit. The warnings were issued two weeks ago to buy all the necessities and avoid travelling or coming out of the houses in general. Then came the day before the Landfall. It started out with light drizzling with speed wind and overnight the speed got strong. It lasted for 2 days and the aftermath for a week. All the prevention and precautions and the measures taken by both people and government lead to no casualty report and some minor damages to the property. Like providing shelter homes and food for the people, rural areas helped save the People. It was a natural disaster so remarks were left behind but the government was quick to fix it for the People not to face any inconvenience. Things went back to normal quick this time.

Then again We were hit by another major cyclone around the same time the next year. It was Hud hud , another depression formed in the bay of bengal. We followed the same routine and We were saved again. Then again We got another cyclone which was a major one named Titli. We knew the drill by this time. We were like the pros at handling cyclones by then but then came Fani.

Fani was the one which opened up the newly healed wound again and reminded us of the super Cyclone 1999. This was another one of the major scale cyclones that was to hit the coast of odisha after years. This time the cyclone came early. It was 4th may of 2019 When it made the Landfall. This time the winds were stronger than what Odisha had seen in the last 20 years. This time our confidence was shattered and we were sacred for our state. It lasted for almost 3 days and the aftereffects were worse. This time 89 casualties were reported over all the affected areas. This Cyclone in particular made the most damage to the properties. More than 8000 trees were uprooted, most of the plantations got damaged and even buildings and houses collapsed. Fani's speed was so high that it made all the houses vibrate the entire day and night. It felt like a mini earthquake but lasted for hours. There was a blackout and no water supply for nearly 10 days for the capital of Bhubaneswar and more days for majorly affected places like Puri. It also took a month to clear up the road for transportation. All be because of the fallen trees. Odisha was a greenery state which was filled with trees and plantation but after fani. The affected cities were left with very feeble trees. What made me upset is that the trees that I had been seeing for 18 years of my life in Bhubaneswar or the roads I used to take to go to Puri that were once filled with trees on the both sides were gone. It took more than 6 months to recover from this disaster and some places haven't recovered till date.

To be honest Odisha to Cyclones is to what Japan is to earthquakes. We are the victims of it everytime. Our whole life is situated here and there is no way we can run away from it. We can't even try to stop it because it's a natural disaster. It might sound funny but cyclones have become an annual affair for odisha. It comes by once a year and has been for the last 20 years in records. It's like another season for us. West Bengal waits for Durga puja , Maharashtra waits for Ganesh chaturthi and Odisha waits for cyclones. No pun intended. 

On the bright side Odisha has become an example for overcoming any kind of disaster where it be natural or man-made and also for the brotherhood among the people for handling any problem. It has helped our chief minister to gain the label of ' best Chief for disaster management'.

Lastly a quote by my father 

Odisha is part of Cyclone and Cyclone is part of odisha. It can damage the properties and lives but not out will to fight.

-Durgesh Nandini


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