Relief centres are like a second home for us, say Phailin survivors

Chhatrapur (Ganjam), Oct 14: Relief centres are like second home for them. Whenever the cyclone strikes, they come there, said the victims.

“Yeh relief centre hamara doosra ghar hai, har baar cyclone aata hai aur hum yahan aajate hain,” Biju Behera said.

These words of a 47-year-old cyclone victim, explains the dilemma and bad reality of the villagers of coastal Odisha who have to move in at relief centre leaving their livelihood, their pet animals and lands at the mercy of nature’s fury.

He and many others in the relief camp set up by the government have seen the 1999 super cyclone and many other smaller versions of a raging sea.
At the pink coloured Binchanpalli multi purpose cyclone centre in this place, which is the district headquarter of Ganjam, cyclones are like frequent predators.

“This time it is Phailin. Earlier, there were many other severe or light velocity cyclones but our destiny is like this. People usually face disaster once in their life but we keep on witnessing them every now and then,” Prasad Routray, a village head of nearby Gopalpur village told PTI.

This camp, right next to the NH-5 that connects Chennai to Kolkata, houses more than 100 families of nearby coastal areas who have been brought here by the district administration.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who visited this camp on Monday, had to face a number of angry victims as they complained that there was no water and enough food in the camp.

“Aaj sab aajayega (you will get everything today),” Patnaik assured them.

The chief minister later instructed local collector Krishna Kumar to ensure all camps in this area are replenished with adequate food, water and clothing items.

There are many in this coastal area those who have refused to stay in a relief camp even if that means walking down about 2 kms from their place.

The residents of Nalianuagaon, plum-light colony bores the maximum brunt of the cyclonic fury as the huts have been totally decimated. The residents refuse to budge from here.

The Agastinuagaon government shelter is a few km from the colony but they have decided to build their homes remaining with whatever they are left with.

“What is the use of being in a relief centre? When the cyclone struck we were taken there but now we have to build our homes,” 53-year-old Doliya Bara, a resident of this village said.

The villagers allege that they have not been given any support material to relay their roof and build their huts which have been flattened by the strong winds and rains that lashed this area during the cyclone Phailin.

Locals of the area say their farming fields have been totally submerged in rain water that the cyclonic storm brought.

While electricity and clean water have become a problem as power supplying poles have crashed and natural sources of water have been polluted.

In the coastal belt, a number of hand pumps are being used by villagers to replenish their potable water store.

All along the villages, a number of trees have either crashed on roads or on residential hutments thereby damaging them.

District collector Kisan Kumar said all resources have been mobilised for the affected people. (PTI)

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