Cyclone Nisarga: 'Authorities responded too late for us,' say locals in Uran

Updated: Jun 05, 2020, 07:27 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Many locals in Uran, which also saw damage to property in the cyclone, alleged they didn't go to shelter houses because of the COVID-19 scare and as officials didn't come to help them in time

Gajanan Naik and his family escaped when a tree fell on their house in Uran. Pics/ Faizan Khan
Gajanan Naik and his family escaped when a tree fell on their house in Uran. Pics/ Faizan Khan

The town of Uran was also affected by Cyclone Nisarga after it made landfall at Shrivardhan-Diveagar in Raigad district on Wednesday. mid-day visited the town which saw hundreds of trees fall due to wind speed of 120 km, and damage to houses.

Many of the locals residing near the sea hadn't gone to the shelters due to the COVID-19 scare and claimed that the authorities responded late with help.

Almost every road was full of fallen tree branches which were being removed by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other local agencies.

Along most roads, electricity wires and poles had fallen due to the massive wind on Wednesday. The local police had cordoned all roads going towards the seashore.

Several houses were damaged after trees fell on them, while the roofs of some cottages were blown away.

Nagaon, a village in Uran, has thousands of families residing just 500 mts from the sea and they weren't evacuated. According to the locals, they didn't go to the shelter houses due to the COVID-19 scare and also because authorities came late.

'Authorities came late'

Gajanan Naik, 55, a resident of Nagaon, was at home with his family when a big tree fell on it, damaging the roof.

"We were very scared. We didn't go to the shelter house as when the authorities came to our door step, it was already raining heavily and there were strong winds. We felt being on the road could be dangerous, as several trees had fallen, blocking the exit completely," he said.

itendra Gharat (in white shirt) shows the collapsed wall of the toilet after a coconut tree fell on it. PICS/Faizan Khan
Jitendra Gharat (in white shirt) shows the collapsed wall of the toilet after a coconut tree fell on it

Jitendra Gharat, 42, another resident of Nagaon, escaped unhurt when a coconut tree fell on the toilet, and half its wall was damaged.

"We were lucky that it didn't fall on our house as around seven members of my family were there. We were not prepared to deal with the cyclone. We didn't go to the shelter house due to COVID-19. We are thankful to the almighty that nothing happened to us," he said.

"The roof of my house was blown away, so we are trying to get it covered with tarpaulin. We fisherfolk were fully prepared as the authorities acted well in advance, so we were able to protect our boats and other fishing equipment," said Mahesh Padmakar, who stays in Uran.

Official speak

"Around 1,900 families were shifted to shelter houses before cyclone Nisarga's landfall. It was a well co-ordinated preparation in collaboration with other agencies and not a single life was lost. But some families didn't move to shelter houses despite our best efforts," said Jagdish Kulkarni, senior PI Uran police station.

"In some other parts of Raigad district, massive damage to houses, crops and properties was reported and two people died. Almost all coastal tehsils and southern Raigad are devastated," said Nidhi Chaudhary, collector, Raigad.

Dashrath Waghmare, 58, an employee of Maharashtra State Electricity Company Ltd (MSEDCL) died after an electric pole fell on him in Raigad District, another death was reported at Shrivardhan where 16-year-old Amol Javelkar died when the compound wall of his house fell on him.

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