The grave yard. The silence was at

The extent of destruction and human suffering I saw was unimaginable and at times belied description. I had been witness to many a disaster, but what I saw there was far beyond imagination and enough to move any normal person to grief.

My visit took me to Rampur village which was the worse affected. I set out for Rampur by car in the early morning from Bhubneshwar. The road to the village was washed away, with electricity and telephone poles littered across the road. Massive trees had been uprooted and it was with great difficulty that I could reach the village by late afternoon.

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The place was enveloped in deadly silence, the like of which you see in a grave yard. The silence was at times broken, with the sobs and wail of children, huddled together in small groups besides a makeshift tent, which was their temporary shelter. Just beyond them I saw a complete village razed to the ground, with some lone survivors of families shifting the debris, in the hope of finding survivors.

On the occasional spotting of a body in the debris, a painful shriek or cry would rent the air, as they gave vent to their grief.

The relief operations were in full swing and I saw the Army and the paramilitary forces, along with the administrative officials busy in removing debris, or clearing roads, they were also busy in locating and disposing of the bodies, which were at times highly decomposed.

The paramedics along with doctors were providing medical aid to the injured and the ill, at temporary relief camps set up in tents. Looking above, I saw helicopters airdropping food packets to the marooned people. It was also good to see, various voluntary organisations offering food and comfort to their unfortunate brethren, in their hour of grief.

The relief measure adopted were still highly inadequate, taking into account the magnitude of the calamity, which had left more than ten thousand people dead and millions homeless. It is but a national calamity, for which besides the government and the voluntary agencies, each one of us should lend a helping hand.

It is a Herculean task, to rehabilitate these people and help them to pick up their strands of life again. This can be done by collecting funds and items of daily use, which can be sent to the relief commissioner for distribution among the hapless people. It is an occasion when we must forget our squabbles and unitedly set about building the shattered lives of our unfortunate brethren of Odisha.