Guwahati, May 5, 2019
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (ODRR) has commended the Indian government’s “zero casualty” policy for cyclones and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)’s “almost pinpoint accuracy” of early warnings that helped the authorities reduce the possibility of deaths from cyclone Fani and conduct a well-targeted evacuation plan as extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani made landfall near the coastal city of Puri.
The powerful cyclone, strongest to hit India in 20 years, made landfall at around 8 am in India’s eastern state of Odisha on May 3rd, 2019 affecting nearly one crore people. The death toll rose to 16 in Odisha on May 4th, 2019.
Early indications are that accuracy of early warnings from @Indiametdept & effective evacuation of 1.1 million people in Odisha have saved many lives as #CycloneFani weakens but remains a threat as it moves slowly inland. No storm surge reported as yet. @ndmaindia #GP2019Geneva pic.twitter.com/gaPj91MjFI
— UNDRR (@unisdr) May 3, 2019
“They seem to have done a very good job in terms of minimising the possibility for loss of life,” Denis McClean, a spokesperson for the ODRR said at a UN news briefing in Geneva.
On the other hand, except for damaging a few huts, Cyclone Fani did not cause much havoc in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said. The severe cyclonic storm weakened on May 4th, 2019 morning and headed towards neighbouring Bangladesh.
Bangladesh on May 4th, 2019 evacuated over five lakh people from its southwestern districts as cyclonic storm ‘Fani’, was brewing over the Bay of Bengal. According to Dhaka Tribune, 14 deaths were reported from eight districts of Bangladesh, including Noakhali, Bhola and Lakshmipur, which were among the places worst-hit by the cyclone. The dead also included a two-year-old boy and four women.