28 February, 2021

Cyclone Titli: Odisha Govt May Have Undone All Its Good Work

The Odisha government was in denial about Titli deaths

Fishermen near Gopalpur evacuate on October 11
Photograph by AP
Cyclone Titli: Odisha Govt May Have Undone All Its Good Work
outlookindia.com
2018-10-19T12:08:58+05:30

When Titli conducted its chevauchée through Odi­sha, it left no dead bodies in its wake—zero casualties. That was the state government’s line, and it stuck to this claim until as late as October 12. Asked about reports from the ground suggesting a number of deaths in the areas affected by the cyclone, especially the worst-hit Ganjam and Gaj­apati districts, food supply and consumer affairs minister Surjya Narayan Patro, who represents Digapahandi in Ganjam in the assembly, taunted a TV reporter, saying; “Your channel may have such reports. But as per my inf­ormation, no one has died.”

By the morning of October 16, however, the government was forced to admit that there had been 26 deaths across the state, 18 of them in Gajapati alone. Briefing mediapersons, special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said, “15 of the 18 who died in Gajapati belonged to Baraghar village, two to Labanyagarh and one to Anaga. Three people have been confirmed dead in Ganjam district, while Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Angul, Keonjhar districts...

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