Kendrapara: Cyclone Amphan may have brought trails of misery for many. However, it also did pleasantly surprise some migrant returnees who were asked to vacate the shelter homes. At a number of places cyclone shelter homes are being used as quarantine centres.
Mandatory quarantine exempted
Around 2,000 migrants in the coastal districts of Odisha were exempted from the mandatory institutional quarantine. All of them had tested negative for COVID-19.
“The returnees in temporary health camps (THCs) were subjected to COVID-19 tests. And those who tested negative were sent to their respective homes,” Jagatsinghpur District Collector Sangram Mohapatra said. “They were directed to remain under self isolation for 28 days,” he added.
Converting quarantine centres into cyclone shelters
The move was aimed at vacating some of the temporary quarantine centres and turning them into cyclone shelters. All health camps were thoroughly sanitised before conversion, Mohapatra stated.
“Altogether 815 people quarantined in 39 camps were provided the opportunity to return home and maintain self isolation,” Mohapatra said. “They have submitted a written undertaking that they would not violate the isolation norms,” he added.
Amphan affects large numbers
Nearly 45 lakh people in Odisha have been adversely affected by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan. At least two lakh people were evacuated from the vulnerable areas of Odisha ahead of the landfall. Several people have also been rendered homeless by the storm.
Relief for Kendrapara migrant inmates
In Kendrapara, around 250 migrant workers were sent home after their COVID-19 tests confirmed that they have not contacted the infection.
“Eight health camps that had been housing quarantined people over the past two months are now serving as cyclone shelters. Over 250 have been asked to maintain self isolation at home,” Kendrapara District Collector Samarth Verma said.
Those sent home were provided with their COVID-19 test reports. This was done as there were apprehensions that locals might stop them from entering the villages. “We have received no report of resistance shown to any of the migrants sent home,” Verma said.
Similar measures were undertaken in parts of Balasore and Bhadrak districts, officials said.
A Gujarat-returned labourer, who was allowed to go home, said he cannot wait to meet his loved ones. “I had undertaken a long and painful journey to return to Odisha. I wanted to go home and rest,” said the migrant worker in Balasore who did not wish to be named.
PNN & Agencies