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Man found after 1999 mega cyclone in Odisha is reunited with family

The Hawk
November20/ 2022

Kolkata (The Hawk): The Baral family from Puri, Odisha, will undoubtedly concur that miracles do happen. An elderly man who was believed to have died in the big storm that struck the coast of Odisha 23 years ago has been reunited with his family.

After the storm in Odisha that claimed over 10,000 lives, Kritichandra Baral travelled to Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. He was a section of pavement in the port city and had forgotten who he was.

The Greater Visakhapatnam corporation at the time, A.J. Stalin, felt sorry for the man and dropped over to give him food each day. The man would approach Stalin's car when it stopped, take the food packet, and then make his way back to his pavement corner. This continued for a while.

One afternoon, the corporator honked and stopped his car as usual, but the man never showed up. Stalin exited and located the man after looking around. He was sick and immobile. It happened in 2012.

The Missionaries of Charity (MOC) were contacted by Stalin, who asked them to take care of the individual. The MOC assumed control after receiving the required police permission, and Baral's health status improved. However, no matter what was done, his memory was unable to be restored.

But occasionally the man would say Srikakulam, the name of a district and city in Andhra Pradesh. Baral was sent to a centre close to Srikakulam by the MOC as he became stronger. When the missionaries travelled to the villages, he would go along. The MOC had anticipated that he would be recognised there, but this did not occur.

"I received a call from the MOC a few days ago. We had previously assisted the organisation in locating the family of some of the individuals they were caring for. Now they wanted us to look for this man's family. At the time, we didn't even know his name. Using our network, we conducted a thorough search before discovering the Baral family in Patigram, Bamanala, and Puri.

Three of Baral's sons. One of them suffers vision loss. When the other two saw their father's picture, they were astounded and immediately began to cry. According to Ambarish Nag Biswas, secretary of the West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC), a group of amateur radio operators, the family is well-off and explained how their father went missing after the cyclone and was assumed dead.

Baral is thought to have suffered a terrible event during the cyclone and gone completely memoryless. He still recalls how he managed to go to Srikakulam. From then, he ended himself as a vagabond in Visakhapatnam.

Nag Biswas claims that Baral's sons will transport him back to his house after the requisite paperwork have been completed at the MOC centre in Brahmapur, Odisha, where he has now been relocated.

(Inputs from Agencies)