His Holiness saddened by cyclone in Odisha, praises efficient precautions, relief efforts

His Holiness the Dalai Lama pictured with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s at the latter’s residence during his visit to Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India on November 20, 2017. Image: OHHDL

DHARAMSALA, 7th May: The Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed his sadness at the loss of life and magnitude of destruction caused by Cyclone Fani in the Indian state of Odisha.

“I would like to express my sadness about the lives that were lost, the devastation of property, and the hardship this storm has caused to so many people. I offer my condolences to those families who have lost loved ones and my prayers for the welfare of everyone affected by this huge cyclone,” the Dalai Lama has said in a missive addressed to the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik.

The Tibetan spiritual leader who visited Odisha in Nov 2017 has also offered a donation of Rs 1,000,000 (one million) to the Odisha government from his Trust towards the relief and rebuilding efforts.

The Dalai Lama has further commended the Chief Minister for the efficient precautions he and his government have taken to evacuate people to safety to avoid the ravages of Cyclone Fani, that has significantly minimised the damage.

The way the Odisha government stood fearlessly in the face of impending disaster and managed to minimize damage caused by the cyclone has earned praise at international levels as well, reports the news 18.

“Their “zero-casualty cyclone preparedness policy” has attracted the attention of the UN and international media,” the report said.

Categorized as extremely severe,  Cyclonic Storm Fani was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the Indian state of Odisha since Phailin in 2013. It wreaked havoc in Odisha where it made its landfall on 3 May and caused widespread devastation in the 11 coastal districts of the state claiming at least 35 lives.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has pledged his one-year salary to the CM Relief Fund for the victims of Cyclone Fani and sought an assistance of Rs 17,000 crore from the Centre for relief and restoration.

After the India Meteorological Department, an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India declared Fani to be a super cyclone earlier last week, Naveen Patnaik’s government carried out the biggest evacuation in history.

A record 12 lakh people were evacuated from about 15,000 villages and 46 towns in the state to prevent destruction and devastation on a mass scale.

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