Cyclone-Ravaged India State Seeks $14 Billion for Reconstruction
(Bloomberg) -- The eastern Indian state of Odisha, battered by one of the strongest cyclones in two decades, needs at least one trillion rupees ($14 billion) to rebuild damaged houses and public infrastructure, a government official said on Monday.
About 500,000 people have lost their houses and would need reconstruction, said Bishnupada Sethi, special relief commissioner with the Odisha government. Almost 14 million people were affected by the storm last week, while 35 lost their lives, he said. The state government had evacuated about 1.39 million people to temporary shelters.
The monsoon season is approaching and that’s a matter of concern, Sethi said. “We will give them temporary shelters as the reconstruction will continue for quite some time.”
Fani, which reached the eastern coast on Friday with a top wind speed of 205 kilometers (127 miles) an hour, was one of the most severe cyclones to hit the region the Super Cyclone of 1999 that killed almost 10,000 people. Odisha, home to aluminum plants, power utilities, coal mines and an oil refinery, faces cyclonic storms almost every year.
Officials in Odisha, home to about 42 million people as per the 2011 census, are still assessing the full trail of destruction left by the storm that uprooted hundreds of thousands of trees and damaged several buildings, roads, and power lines. The state has set up more than 15,000 free kitchen camps to serve as many as 2.6 million affected people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced immediate assistance worth 10 billion rupees to Odisha after undertaking an aerial survey of the cyclone affected areas, the government said in a statement. The aid is in addition to 3.41 billion rupees already given to the state on April 29, it said.
Horticulture crops in the state have been destroyed in the affected region and it will take years to restore, Sethi said. Paddy and groundnut crops in some areas were also damaged due to strong winds, he said.
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