23 years ago today, the 1999 Super Cyclone hit and devastated Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In 1999, exactly 23 years ago today, a super cyclonic storm hit and devastated Odisha. The super cyclone reached Paradip around noon on 29 October 1999.

It was among India’s worst natural disasters, killing nearly 10,000 people, according to official estimates, while over 3.5 lakh houses were destroyed, several villages were completely swept away, more than two lakh animals were killed and 25 lakh souls were left behind.

The 1999 super cyclone was the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean by pressure with sustained winds at the time in the Bay of Bengal.

The government of India declared a national disaster after the cyclone, although international appeals were not initially expected. The devastation caused by the cyclone was expected to cause six months of total loss of normal livelihood. The damage sustained to various sanitation infrastructures led to an increased risk of outbreaks of communicable diseases, indeed, diarrhea and cholera saw increased cases following the impact of the storm. Within a month of the cyclone’s landfall, the Odisha state government reported 22,296 cases of diarrheal disorders.

The area’s vulnerability to disease is also compounded by the lack of vaccinations before the storm, raising fears of a potential measles outbreak. Disease outbreaks caused by the effects of the storm stabilized by February 2000. For most locations, the initial loss of telecommunications and rail service was restored within a few days.

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