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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] My Experience of Surviving An Extremely Severe Cyclone - Fani

by Ananya Singh | 09-05-2019 18:17 Comments 7 Comments recommendations 1 recommendations

Hi everyone, I'm Ananya and I live in Odisha, a small and extremely poor state in the south-eastern coast of India. The state is famous for both its culture and its frequent encounters with cyclones.

Odisha has historically been a favorite spot for many severe cyclonic storms in the past - like in 1999, 2013, and 2018. And this year, it was the Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm called Fani. It was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the Indian state of Odisha since Phailin in 2013. The second named storm (name given by Bangladesh, meaning “hood of snake”) and the first severe cyclonic storm of the 2019 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, Fani originated from a tropical depression that formed west of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean on 26 April. Fani rapidly intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm and reached its peak intensity on 2 May, as a high-end extremely severe cyclonic storm, and the equivalent of a high-end Category 4 major hurricane.

It was 03 May 2019. The clock hit 6.47am IST when the electricity supply for the entire city of Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha and the first smart city of India, was cut off. The weather was cloudy and there was pin drop silence everywhere. But you know what they say - there's always a lull before a storm ! That was the case here. As the city was slowly waking up to resume its daily routine, the clouds slowly enshrouded the big and magnificent city. It seemed as if the clouds were just above the 10-15ft high dense and lush green trees. Gradually, at 10.30am IST, the wind started tearing apart the city. The winds were blowing at almost more than 170km/hour, a speed so intense that one could humongous trees falling down and wooden windows flying in the air. The wind was so aggressive that it break open into people's houses and blew away with it their valuables. By 12 noon IST, the once glorious city was in rubbles and smithereens. Wires had been torn, electric cords were hanging, streets were filled with massive fell trees, buildings had been broken, and people - they were filled with fear, living in dark. For the next 6 days, I, my family and at least 3.5 million households in Odisha lived in dark, had no water to drink and food to eat, with no internet and zero network to even make an emergency call. Mobile towers had been broken and mobile phones couldn't be charged. Water had to be collected from wells and ponds located afar. The scorching heat that followed after the typhoon was life-draining. People would sweat throughout the day and at night, mosquitoes would not let them rest. The city was bleak. Roads were blocked. There were and still are unprecedented long queues in front of ATMs and cash dispensing kiosks with the facility being run on diesel generators. Most of the ATMs had either run out of cash or were not operating due to lack of power. What’s worse is that due to shortage of cash, residents too can’t buy food stuff with most grocery shops and restaurants insisting on cash payments. Petrol pumps are being run on generators but had to be shut down every 4-6 hours before they can resume, and distribution of fuel to thousands of people every hour has posed further strain on the staff.

No one knew when “normal would become normal again”. It was like a curfew imposed by nature !

But in its preparation to defeat the storm, the state government of Odisha evacuated over 1.2 million residents from vulnerable coastal areas and moved them to higher ground and into cyclone shelters built a few miles inland. The authorities deployed around a thousand emergency workers and 43,000 volunteers in these effort. It sent out 2.6 million text messages to warn of the storm in addition to using television, sirens and public-address systems to communicate the message. About 7,000 kitchens were operated to feed evacuees in 9,000 storm shelters. The Indian Navy readied naval ships and aircraft at Arakkonam and Visakhapatnam air-bases to prepare for the storm's aftermath and aid in reconnaissance, rescue and relief operations. The Odisha government staged "300 power boats, two helicopters and many chain saws, to cut downed trees" for the purpose.

At least 45 people have been killed by Fani in India; 37 in Odisha, and 8 in two districts of Uttar Pradesh. In Odisha, a teenager was killed after being hit by a falling tree. One woman died when she was hit by flying debris, and another died of a heart attack while in a cyclone shelter. The Jagannath Temple in Puri suffered minor damage, the repairing cost were estimated to be ₹5.1 crores (US$738,000). The estimated cost of rebuilding Odisha is said to be ₹1600 crores.

My experience has been a horrifying one ! I hope Mother Nature soothes soon.

Railway station Railway station NASA Railway station


Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Ananaya

    Thank you for your report sharing us your Experience of Surviving An Extremely Severe Cyclone - Fani. Wishing for your good and safe health.

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 17-06-2019 04:03

Ananya Singh

  • Ananya Singh says :
    Thank you everyone for taking the time to read and for all your compassion in this very testing time ! :)
    Posted 29-05-2019 02:26

Elizaveta Zaretskaya

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Hello ananya
    It provided me with goosebumps. Hope everything get settled very soon there.
    Stay safe
    Green cheers...
    Posted 17-05-2019 20:27

Eco Generation

  • Eco Generation says :
    Greetings Ananya,

    This is a very detailed personal experience of a huge storm.
    To live in the dark, with no water, food, internet, and network for the six days seems quite unimaginable.
    You are a brave soul, to have survived this harsh natural disaster.
    We wish you all the good luck and hope this doesn't happen again in the future.

    Eco Generation
    Posted 13-05-2019 16:50

Louis Mentor

  • Louis Mentor says :
    Hi Ananya,

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience and I think you must had been terrified during the cyclone. As I do not have any experience regarding cyclones so far, I could not imagine how horrifying it could be when it hits my city. I sincerely hope that the city can be restores as quick as possible.

    Louis Mentor
    Posted 11-05-2019 23:27

Wonhee Mentor

  • Wonhee Mentor says :
    Hello Ananya

    Thank you for sharing this urgent and important issue with us. I can't even imagine how it would feel like to be in a city where severe cyclonic storms hit. It must have been very hard time for you. I wish everything comes back on the right track as soon as possible.

    Wonhee Mentor
    Posted 10-05-2019 02:06

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