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Road To Nowhere: Know The Predicament Of The Village Where Cyclone FANI Made Landfall

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07 May 2019


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Puri: In coastal district of Puri, a quaint little village of Balighai had no idea what was in store for them on May 3. Due to pinpoint warnings and efforts of district administration, all the villagers had been shifted to cyclone shelters. But when they returned to their homeland on May 5, the area was unrecognizable.

“It seemed like we returned to nowhere,” said the villagers as they tried to clean up their roads. The path to Balighai looks like a desert. There is nothing that looks or seems like home. It is only destruction everywhere. The kutcha houses have been reduced to the ground. Many villagers were trying to identify which one was their hut.

On top of that, their fields have been destroyed and now they have no means of livelihood. The people are left on their own fate. Till the time administration reaches them, the people have decided to crawl or dunk under the huge uprooted trees and begin rebuilding their village in whatever capacity they can.

The villagers narrated, “They (administration) warned us at 7 pm on Thursday (May 2). We left immediately and shifted to the cyclone shelter. Stayed there and ate chuda, guda (flattened rice, jaggery) for two days.”

“On May 5, we decided to check on our village. Turns out, the cyclone had made its landfall right there. With wind speeds over 200 kmph, our entire village of Balighai has become dust. It saddens us to see our homeland in ruins. Restoration is not an option now. We have to rebuild our entire village from scratch to get back our livelihood,” a villager cried.

While the relief distribution work undertaken by the Odisha Government will fill the stomachs of the hungry villagers for a few days, the main question that now arises in the minds of Balighai people is “What do we do after that?”

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Balighai Villagers