The Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Department on Monday released an amount of Rs 197.59 crore for Puri as the first phase house damage assistance as part of the distribution of house building assistance to the families affected by Cyclone Fani that hit the coastal areas of Odisha on May 3.

At least 1.51 crore people spread over 16,659 villages were affected by the Cyclone Fani while over 5 lakh houses were damaged and 41 casualties reported, the Odisha government had informed in its first preliminary damage assessment report that was released on May 10.

The report further stated that over 14.70 lakh people had been evacuated and sheltered and 25,000 tourists safely evacuated from Puri, Ganjam, Cuttack and Balasore districts.

Power infrastructure was totally wiped out and over 80,000 km of LT lines, 65,000 distribution transformers, 38, 000 km of 11kv lines and 5,000 km of 33kv lines were flattened.

Almost two lakh houses were damaged in Puri district alone. Telephone and mobile connectivity were severely affected in Puri, Bhubaneswar and Khurda.

Following the aftermath of Cyclone Fani, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had demanded special category status for the disaster-prone state from the Centre saying that it faces natural calamities almost every year.

Fani had the longest lifespan among tropical cyclones observed in the Bay of Bengal, according to the Centre for Environment and Climate (CEC) of the SOA Deemed to be University. As per the CEC records, the Cyclone Fani lifespan was of 11 days “in the sea and land put together”.

The devastation wrought by Fani over the land was mainly due to high wind speed and fast movement, but it would have caused greater devastation had it remained stationary or moved at a low speed on land for some time.