Odisha seeks foreigners, NRIs to support rehabilitation after deadly cyclone

Bhubneswar: Odisha government has sought donations from foreign nationals and NRIs to rebuild the state in the aftermath of cyclone Fani, saying their contribution will “heal many lives”. Cyclone Fani had ravaged the coastal districts of the state on May 3, resulting in an estimated loss of Rs 12,000 crore.

“#Odisha Chief Minister’s Relief Fund now accepts donations from foreign nationals, Persons of Indian origin, overseas citizens of India and NRIs,” the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted on Monday. People can donate by visiting cmrfodisha.gov.in/donation/onlinedonation.php.

Calling upon all to join hands to rebuild Odisha, the state government said, “Your contribution will heal many lives and also the state.” Separate phone lines have also been set up for donors from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Singapore and UAE, among others. Though the state government has spent more than Rs 6,000 crore in relief and restoration works within a fortnight of the calamity, the Centre has released Rs 1,341 crore so far, an official said.

The state government has sought Rs 12,000 crore from the Centre for the restoration work. The state has so far received donations of about Rs 200 crore from different agencies, organisations, individuals, industries and others in the aftermath of the cyclone that wreaked havoc in the coastal districts, leaving at least 64 people dead and above 5 lakh houses damaged.

The condition of people in the worst-affected Puri district continues to be grim as they have no power in mid-summer. Of about 19 lakh electricity consumers in the district, power has been restored to only 19,000 even after 18 days of the calamity. “In Puri, electricity restoration work is being carried out in full swing,” an official said, adding that daily necessities of affected people have been met as relief assistance and monthly pensions have been disbursed.

The official said normalcy has returned to 90 per cent areas in the other 13 districts. “It will take time to restore power in Puri because of the massive destruction of the infrastructure,” he said.

More than 100 electricity towers have been uprooted in the cyclone in Puri. The cyclone, which made landfall in Puri with a wind speed of up to 240 kmph, also left at least 241 people injured.