Cuttack: On the fateful day of May 3, Abu Dhabi Odia Association was celebrating Utkal Divas 3000 kilometers away from Odisha when Cyclone FANI hit the coast here. Padma Shri D Prakash Rao was also present with them as he was being felicitated by the association. Hours later, Rao received a call that left him devastated.
Cyclone FANI had wreaked havoc in Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Electric poles and transformers had been badly damaged, trees uprooted and asbestos/tin establishments reduced to the ground. Rao’s tin home had also been hit with several sections of the roof lying 100 metres away from his home. His school ‘Asha o Ashwasana’ was also damaged.
Rao rushed back home. Seeing his plight, the Odia Association in Abu Dhabi was concerned about the people back home. Swinging into action, they decided to come to Odisha for seven days and extend a helping hand.
First, they build a pucca foundation for Rao’s house and gave him Rs 2 lakh to renovate his school. Then, they met all slum-dwellers in Cuttack and addressed their needs. Pradeep Rath, President of the association said, “We all have a responsibility towards society. This was only the beginning. We hope to keep in touch with the people here and provide timely help whenever needed.”