New Delhi: In the aftermath of the devastation caused by the 'extremely severe' Cyclone Fani, the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy has launched a massive rescue and rehabilitation effort in Odisha. 

Two maritime recce sorties were undertaken by the Dornier aircraft of the Navy, revealing widespread destruction around the temple town of Puri. The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command personally undertook an aerial survey of the cyclone-affected area on May 4 and visited INS Chilka — the naval establishment at Odisha closest to Puri — to review the relief efforts.

Based on aerial surveys, the Eastern Naval Command is undertaking a three-pronged rescue and rehabilitation effort centred around Puri and its suburbs in coordination with the Odisha government and district administration. 

Relief and rehabilitation ‘bricks’ and ‘pallets’ (Naval parlance for containerised relief stores) comprising food material, essential medical supplies, clothing items, disinfectants, repair material, chain saws for removing damaged trees, torches, batteries, etc have been sent to INS Chilka. The Naval Officer-in-Charge(Odisha) is centrally coordinating distribution of these relief materials and community kitchen is planned to be set up.

Simultaneously, three Eastern Fleet ships are undertaking rescue and rehabilitation efforts from the sea. The Indian Navy ships Ranvijay, Kadmatt and Airavat, along with three helicopters, are operating off the Puri coast and coordinating aerial survey and immediate response from the sea. The first responders and helicopters from the ships have been able to provide immediate support. In order to coordinate the relief efforts, the Eastern Naval Command has pre-positioned liaison teams in cyclone-affected areas around Puri that in turn are directing the rescue and relief efforts being undertaken by the ships.

With the likely opening of the Bhubaneshwar airport on Saturday, Chetak and UH3H helicopters are being positioned there by the Navy to launch rescue efforts and for air-dropping relief materials to the inaccessible and remote areas. The deployment of the helicopters at Bhubaneshwar would enable aerial rescue of the stranded people to safer areas as well as access to areas without road connectivity.

In order to sustain the rescue and relief over the next few days, the Eastern Naval Command has additional ships with relief material on standby.