Abdul Wahab Khan | NT
Panaji: Cyclonic winds that blew in the wee hours of Thursday wreaked havoc on Cacra, a small fishing village situated near the Goa University atop the Taleigao plateau.
Members of about 12 families bore the brunt as many trees particularly coconut trees got uprooted and some houses also got damaged.
As howling winds and heavy rains lashed, the villagers stayed inside their houses waiting for help while the wind snapped tree branches like toothpicks, blew away roof sheets and snapped power supply.
Extensive damage was caused to property and many were left homeless within a minute of disaster.
The devastation in the village was visible all along the coast. The volleyball ground was littered with trees. Two-wheelers were also damaged. The velocity of the wind was so high that a metal sheet of a roof got blown away.
Three members of a family including elderly members sustained minor injuries after pieces of concrete and roof tiles fell on their back when they were fast asleep however they were immediately shifted to GMC and later discharged after proper medication.
The cyclonic wind also destroyed the means of livelihood of some fisher folks as several canoes were damaged.
Recounting the horror, a 68-year-old Mingu Pereira, an anxious fisherman, who has recently lost one of his legs due to diabetes, said, “My house got completely damaged after branches of banyan tree crashed on the roof. But luckily I escaped unhurt because I had covered my body with a blanket while sleeping when a roof tile dropped on my head due to strong wind. I have been sleepless and sitting outside since morning.”
Many villagers were forced to take shelter in their neighbour’s homes or with their relatives. In the morning, a woman cradling her one-and-a-half year old son in one arm and a plastic bag filled with kitchenware in the other hand was found struggling in the waterlogged kitchen.
“I have a small child, and family to feed, how will I survive in the open?” asked Sushma, as she clutched on to her baby.
Another villager Dilip Fatarpekar said the natural disaster left his canoe damaged. The impact of wind was such that it blew away the house roof causing damage to electrical equipments, he added.
Heavy waves pounded the village with water even entering some houses. The impact of the wind was such that even some birds were found dead in the village.
An IMD scientist however expressed surprise and said that the wind speed was 35km/hr which is not so high to cause such havoc.
A 78-year-old Nanu said that his knee was hurt after a piece of concrete slab fell on his leg and his wife’s back causing minor injuries after a huge banyan tree branch came crashing down on their house
“The noise of wind blowing the roof was like bursting of pack of fire crackers and within seconds it disappeared. I immediately woke up and gathered my family members at a safe place of my house. Then I realised the wind has blown away my house’s metal roof and the coconut tree came crashing down in the bedroom but luckily nobody got injured. My bikes also got damaged. I have spent almost a lakh to put new metal sheet on the roof,” said Guru Balekar.
Tiswadi mamlatdar Franklin Ferrao along with the talathi in the morning rushed to the site and assessed the damage. The inspection report will be submitted to the district collector for releasing the relief fund under state disaster response scheme.