On 3rd May the cyclone Fani (“Foni”), a category 4 storm, impacted three states in India (Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal). Odisha remains the worse hit with more than 15 million people incl. 4,8 million children affected. The cyclone was untimely; it was one of the rarest summer cyclones, the first one in 43 years and one of 3 to hit Odisha in the last 150 years.
The Government of Odisha coordinated one of the largest emergency preparedness exercise with more than 45,000 volunteers, 2,000 emergency workers, 100,000 officials, youth clubs, and other civil society organisations, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) agencies, to work round the clock to evacuate 1.47 million people and relocate them to temporary shelters well before the forecasted landfall of Fani. This unprecedented mobilisation born out of conscientious resilience building initiatives by the Government and Civil Society Organisations have helped to keep the casualties low. Despite the intensity of the cyclone, loss of lives was reduced. So far 64 persons have reportedly died and 160 were injured (State Emergency Operation Centre, Bhubaneswar). This was recognized by the UN as a good practice for effective preparedness and early warning (SRSG for DRR tweet)
Despite the success in avoiding higher death tolls, the cyclone has severely affected lives and livelihoods of more than 28 million people across 3 States. 24 districts have been affected across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. Severely impacted areas are all in Odisha, mainly the districts of Puri (where the cyclone made landfall), Khurdha, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Jagatsinghpur.
More than 4,8 million children are directly impacted by the cyclone in the state of Odisha alone, most them residing in villages and slums deprived of even basic necessities. Critical services to children continue to be disrupted in the affected districts even after a week.
The districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Vishakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh were impacted with Srikakulam most affected by a wind speed of 140 km/h. A total of 733 villages across 3 districts were affected.
Kolkata, East and West Medinipur, Jhargram, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly districts of West Bengal were marginally impacted by the cyclone.