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Footfalls Of ‘Yaas’ Reminisces The Shocks of What Happened 22 Years Back When Odisha Shook

24/05/2021 at 3:47 PM

By DN Singh

This time it was a peculiar situation when the footfalls of cyclone ‘Yaas’ were heard close to Odisha as people struggling against a pandemic already.

It is scary from the beginning and forecasts over the nature of the storm were at times frightening .

However, at one point of time it was clear that the pangs of the cyclone ‘Yaas’ are to gaze through mainly some districts of coastal Odisha. Some devastations are imminent .

Odisha has learned from several oceanic invasions in the past and, the administrative apparatus ,as usual, has kept its gears ready much in advance.

As it had done during the other recent cyclonic furies like Failin, Hud-Hud and Foni and mistakes from the past helped to avert losses to a great extent.

State On The Toes

So disastrous become the fallout of nature’s furies that, as in these areas, a slight flutter in the wind send people jumping from their beds for safety and survival.

So about less than a day to go, forecast over the impact of ‘Yaas’ is not very clear so far but, predictions have forced the state to be on the toes.

Down The Memory Lane

In one or other way the Super cyclone, that had hit Odisha 22 years back, remained a constant lesson for the governments in Odisha.

To recall the Super Cyclone of 1999, one of the most scary catastrophes in recent memory still send a chill down.

It was 1999 and the date was October 29. The time, just post noon, when suddenly the sky turned gloomy, making a mirage of evening at noon and hell broke loose within minutes, followed by a stormy gale turning to a Super Cyclone .

The unprecedented fury of nature lasted around 36 hours, the wind velocity touching over 260 kmph and gust of 280 or more kmph

Then it was all over. With the Erasama in Jagatsinghpur being the eye of the storm, about 14 districts were literally pounded by the Cyclone, leaving footprints of a devastation those are still indelible in many places.

Eye Of The Storm

On the tranquil bosom of Erasama and adjoining areas in Jagatsinghpur, graveyards emerged and an unending stretch became a floating carpet of corpse, and kept the survivors traumatised.

The tides from the sea went up to 25 to 30 metre propelled by a cataclysmic cyclone that was so ruthless, claiming over 10,000 human lives and lakhs of livestock .

Even after 36 hours of the oceanic invasion during nights one could listen to the sobs from many area.

Nights were so tranquil that slightest of noise resonated around.

Soul Stiring Scenes

Erasama, Padampur, Naghori, Kujang, Dahibara and many other hamlets were reduced to spongy blankets of human corpse and animal bodies.

But one cannot forget the horror in a hamlet called Dahibara, where every trace of life was wiped out except the bodies of two infants lying on their faces.

The scary footprints of an apocalyptic rage of nature that did not spare even a single house nor anything worthy of nostalgia.

Thirty six hours of the fury of nature had left the survivors so shaken that , till the third day of the cyclone, they could not recover from the terror of abandonment .

Because they had seen death from so close, from the shattered shelters and from the tree branches from where they had seen their family members slowly collapsing by the incessant rain and freezing cold and then falling down like ripe fruits on the ground

When this reporter had reached Paradeep, the port town looked almost tonsured with thousands of trees uprooted. However, the most disturbing sight was at the town’s exhibition ground where over a hundred bodies were lined up for the mass cremation.

Suddenly, we noticed an old man in his 80s, walking at the site taking close look at each body. When asked what was he searching for, his reply was “my son has been missing for last three days”. His fatigued eyes were, as if, burning in a stove of despair.

An all pervasive air of pain coupled with a tranquility that was so disturbing . The cluster of villages pulverized by the Super Cyclone remained melancholic for over a fortnight.

Now with few hours left for ‘yaas”, lets hope that the forecasts deviate from the course and ‘Yaas’ would not become that devastating.

About the Author:

DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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