India: Cyclone Fani Emergency Plan of Action Operation Update n° 2 DREF n° MDRIN022

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Summary of major revisions:

This operations update informs the second allocation of the DREF in supporting the scale up of the relief operation of Indian Red Cross Society, for 5,000 families who are affected by Cyclone Fani. The key highlights of this operation update:

  • 5,000 families will be supported with emergency shelter assistance through distribution of shelter and household items such as tarpaulins and kitchen sets, and also non-food items (NFIs) such as rope and clothing items.

  • RDRT deployment budgeted to support the upscaled operation.

  • Operation’s end-date and timeframe revision from 1 June to 1 September 2019 – three months extension.


Description of the disaster

Cyclone Fani, classified by meteorologists as the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane (extremely severe cyclonic storm), made landfall along the east coast of India near Puri in Odisha state at 8.00 am on Friday, 3 May 2019. Gusty winds of more than 175 kmph caused uprooting of trees, fallen trees blocked road network, communication lines completely broken, significant damage to the public infrastructure and kutcha houses (semi-permanent).

While the storm weakened, on its way it caused heavy rainfall in the north east part of the country covering Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur states and light to moderate rainfall at most places over east Assam, Nagaland and east Arunachal Pradesh till 5 May 2019.

While Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh states were affected by the cyclone, significant damage occurred in 6 districts of Odisha - Puri, Jagatsingpur, Kendrapara, Bhadarak, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. In Andhra Pradesh, three coastal districts namely Vijayanagaram, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam, received heavy rainfall. Most of the damage was caused due to high velocity winds.

As of 8 May, the death toll as per media reports is 60, mostly due to falling trees and collapsed walls. Elaborate preparedness measures were undertaken both by the government agencies and the non-government organizations. There was good coordination among different agencies that averted a major disaster. Cyclone Fani was considered the strongest cyclone after the 1999 super cyclone that killed approximately 10,000 people in Odisha, if not for the preparedness measures, many casualties would have taken place.

Inter-Agency Group coordinated by the SPHERE India chapter is conducting Initial Rapid Assessment and also complimented by the assessment team comprising National Disaster Response Team members (NDRT) deployed on 8 May. The following inputs are based on the initial inputs received from various sources, mostly from the Inter-Agency Group members:

West Bengal: There is no major destruction and zero casualties. Local organizations in Sunderban are collecting information on the damage and needs. Few cases of partial damages to buildings are reported. Minimal damage to livestock as well. In Sunderban, the paddy cultivation (Boro rice) is affected by this cyclone. Reports of corn fields affected due to high velocity winds have been reported as well. Few kutcha houses / mud houses damaged in the Kultali, Kakdip and Canning Block and a number of big trees have fallen on the road. Electric poles have fallen due to winds.

Andhra Pradesh: There is no casualty or damage reported as of 6 May. Vizianagaram and Srikakulam were the affected districts.

Odisha: The information regarding the extent of damage occurred in Odisha cannot be ascertained as communication networks are not functional in Odisha. Based on the initial reports as of 6 May, electricity and infrastructure have suffered a massive damage in the region. Failure of mobile connectivity has added to the chaos. Puri, Jagatsingpur, Kendrapara, Bhadarak, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar are the most affected districts. Damage is much higher in Odisha when compared to Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal Media reported that 45 death due to collapse of walls, trees and electric poles in Odisha. However, there is no official information to validate the current death toll.