A sense of calm prevailed in coastal villages of Odisha on Thursday, hours after Cyclone Yaas hit the coast, eventually weakening from an extremely severe storm to a deep depression and moving towards Jharkhand.
While wind speeds up to 140 kmph blew away thatched roofs of some houses, as well as snapped overhead wires, and uprooted trees and electric poles in parts, no major damage was reported. A lower wind speed than predicted, and hastened movement of the storm towards the northwest and its eventual weakening, meant the administration was able to resume restoration work on Wednesday evening.
At Talapada village in Balasore district’s Bahanga block, the site of the cyclone’s landfall on Wednesday morning, most residents were still to return home from shelters. The few who had were taking stock of the damage, including to walls and roofs.
But as Sudarshan Malik, 56, pointed out, the full cost of the huge tidal waves will only be known in time. Scooping out dead fish from his pond, he said, “I rear freshwater fish like Magura, Kou… they cannot survive in saline water. All of us are facing the same situation. Sea water has entered our farms and ponds.”
For most families here, fishing and farming are the major sources of income.
The tidal waves predicted by the IMD for the cyclone were 2-4 metres high. The waves reached their peak…