‘Unsung heroes’: Odisha cops win hearts for rescuing people against all odds in wake of cyclone Fani

The cop of Talchua Police Station in Kendrapara was seen evacuating village residents to a shelter and it garnered a lot of positive reaction online. (Source: Odisha Police)

With the wind storms gusting up to nearly 180 kmph accompanied with heavy torrential rain incessant rains, Cyclone Fani tore through the eastern coast in Odisha on Friday bringing down trees, power and communications lines and thatched houses. The devastating storm caused not only havoc in major cities and villages but also took the lives of eight people in the state.

As one of the biggest storms in years was bearing down on Odisha, authorities prepared for the cyclone days ahead of the calamity, making sure people were evacuated on time and shifted from the storm’s path to minimise the fatality.

And as cyclone Fani barrelled into the Odisha coast, rescue officials and disaster management forces along with state police forces sprang into action assisting people in need. One such photo of a young female police officer giving a ride to two other women on her motorcycle is going viral. The cop of Talchua Police Station in Kendrapara was seen evacuating village residents to a shelter and it garnered a lot of positive reaction online.

In the state’s Ganjam area, another female officer was seen carrying an elderly woman in her arms to move her to a shelter safely.

As the state government evacuated, over the last two days, nearly 12 lakh people from about 10,000 villages and 52 urban agglomerations, damages by the powerful winds were still at a great extent.

Photos and video of cops working tirelessly to help residents, clear roads and offering free food to displaced people and taking of those in shelters created a huge buzz online.

The UN agency for disaster reduction has commended the Indian Meteorological Department's "almost pinpoint accuracy" of early warnings that helped authorities conduct a well-targeted evacuation plan and minimise the loss of life as extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani made landfall near the coastal city of Puri.

Fani subsequently weakened into 'very severe' cyclonic storm in a few hours but left a trail of devastation across coastal Odisha, with the seaside pilgrim town of Puri being the worst hit. "The eye of the storm is likely to be weakened when it enters West Bengal. The wind speed will be around 100 kmph to 110 kmph," said a Met department official.

In Bengal, a red alert has been issued in coastal areas and fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea. Several districts including East and West Midnapore, North and South 24 Parganas besides, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram, Kolkata and the Sundarbans are likely to be hit by the storm which will then move towards Bangladesh and taper off.