(May 17, 2019 )
The state education department report states that at least 6,500 schools have been completely or partially damaged
With less than a month to go for schools to reopen in Odisha, at least 2 million school going children are staring at an uncertain future. The cyclone that ravaged 11 coastal districts of Odisha on May 3, has caused colossal damage to school properties amounting to Rs 417.33 crore, according to the school and mass education department of the state.
The state education department report states that at least 6,500 schools have been completely or partially damaged by the cyclone.
At least 2,134 schools have been damaged in Puri district, which was the worst affected in the cyclonic storm, followed by 1,002 schools in Cuttack district, Jajpur-577, Balasore-432, Kendrapara-392, Ganjam-386, Khurda-332, Nayagarh-165, Dhenkanal-150, and Bhadrak-121. Sanjay Singh, secretary, Information and PR department said that at least 138 tribal schools of Odisha have also been affected.
The damage assessment report submitted by the state to the Centre has calculated the total asset damage to approximately Rs 11, 942 crore.
“There is a lot of damage to all the property. We need to act quickly to restore the roofs since we have less than a month to go for the monsoon to arrive,” said Bhaskar Rout, Block Development Officer at Brahmagiri.
“We need to restore the roofs of homes first. Where will people live if rains come early? This recovery will take a long time,” he said.
Most schools in Nimapada block of the Puri districts have suffered extensive physical damage, with roofs of several classrooms having flown away.
“We need to go to school fast. We don’t know when our school will be repaired,” said Bablu Sahu, 8, who goes to Bhatabandha primary school in Nimapada block.
“It’s not just about the physical infrastructure, the furniture is all damaged, the walls have cracked, moreover since the evacuation was done so hurriedly that lots of children, particularly from the villages have lost all books and stationery,” said Uttam Datta, volunteer from Smile Foundation, a non-profit working towards proving relief material including food, water among other sanitary needs to at least 10,000 people.