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Odisha: Fishermen vulnerable due to frequent cyclonic events by Satyasundar Barik May 21,2019   |  Source: The Hindu

It’s been 15 days since Cyclone Fani swept through coastal Odisha but Erra Babu, 51, is not sure if he would be able to venture into the Bay of Bengal any time soon. At Penthakata, the fishermen’s settlement where the expert seafaring fisherman lives, boats still lay upside down while fishing nets remain buried under mounds of sand – marks of the devastation left behind by one of the strongest summer cyclones to hit Odisha.

“This is probably one of the longest periods I have sat idle and kept watching the sea,” says Mr. Babu. He is likely to wait for a few more days as the boats can be repaired only when power is restored. The wait is painful, says Mr. Babu, who finds it difficult to feed his five-member family as his savings and loans are getting exhausted with every passing day. Uppal Raju, a fellow fishermen, says, “As the frequency of extreme weather events has gone up in the past few decades, the number of fishing days has gradually come down, impacting our livelihood.” “There were times when we used to spend 180 days fishing in the deep seas in a year. Now, the number of fishing days barely crosses 100,” says Mr. Babu.

Packing furious winds, heavy rains and a huge tidal surge, Cyclone Fani razed many houses in Penthakata to ground on May 3. There



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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)