Residents recall Fani as coronavirus scare halts Puri

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Puri: The coronavirus scare has brought the Pilgrim City of Puri to a standstill as the administration has taken precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay.

This reminisces about the devastating cyclonic storm Fani that made landfall on the Odisha coast May 3, last year.

The tropical storm with wind speeds reaching up to 200 km per hour had left a trail of devastation in the Holy City. Thousands of trees were uprooted and hundreds of houses were damaged. Electricity, drinking water and telephone services in the city were disrupted.

The Grand Road and many other localities of the city plunged into darkness for several days in the aftermath of the storm.

“Shops were closed for several days and communication was totally disrupted soon after the storm. The city beach wore a deserted look for many days with tourist footfall dipping to almost zero,” said a local while recalling the impact of cyclone Fani on the Holy City.

Ten months after the devastating storm, the city has been brought to a halt again by the coronavirus scare, locals said.

As part of the precautionary measures against the deadly virus, the administration has put restrictions on congregation of people on the beach here. Srimandir, the abode of Lord Jagannath and many other tourist places in the district including Konark Sun Temple have been shut for devotees to prevent any possible spread of the deadly virus that has claimed at least 11,000 lives across the globe.

To tackle the situation, the administration had asked the tourists to leave the city a few days ago. Besides, shops and malls have been asked to down their shutters for some days. The residents have been asked not to organise any social congregation or function.

“This deadly virus has reminded us the hardship we faced in the wake of cyclonic storm Fani. The entire city has come to a standstill due to the restrictions imposed by the administration to check the spread of coronavirus. An undeclared curfew-like situation is prevailing in Puri. Anyway, we are supporting the administration as social isolation is the best preventive measure against corona,” said a social activist.

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