Cyclone Fani smacks Odisha with 180 km/hr winds, damaging houses, uprooting trees
Cyclonic storm Fani made landfall in Odisha’s Puri district wreaking havoc on Friday. Despite extensive damage caused by near 200 kmph winds and heavy rainfall, no loss of life has been reported so far.
Damaging houses, thousands of trees and electricity poles, uprooting trees, the eye of Fani almost 25 km in diametre is sending off wind velocity of 150 to 175 kmph and even above at some places touching 180 or more, said the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
The government has evacuated more than a million people from districts affected by India’s strongest summertime cyclone in the last 43 years and asked people to remain indoors.
“More than one million people have been evacuated from vulnerable districts in the last 24 hours in Odisha. In Ganjam and Puri, more than 3 lakh and 1.3 lakh people were evacuated respectively to safe shelters. About 5,000 kitchens started operating to serve people in the shelters,” chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s office said on Friday.
The Odisha government has said that 10,000 villages and 52 towns in nine districts will be affected due to Cyclone Fani. It has also advised people to remain indoors on Friday.
The storm is likely to impact Odisha’s coastal districts Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore. In West Bengal, it will affect the East and West Medinipur, South- and North-24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram as well as Kolkata districts.
In Andhra Pradesh, the cyclone is likely to hit Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts.
Flight operations from Bhubaneswar were suspended from Thursday midnight and from Kolkata from Friday morning, as the cyclone — packing winds gusting up to 200 kilometres per hour and torrential rains — approached India’s eastern coast.
The East Coast Railway said it has cancelled ten more trains — seven trains on May 3, one train on May 4, one train on May 6 one train on May 7. The railways had earlier cancelled 147 trains from May 1 to May 3.
The railways has said it will grant a full refund to passengers for the cancelled or diverted trains if tickets are produced for cancellation within three days from the scheduled date of journey.
The power ministry has made arrangements to restore supply in affected areas with the least downtime. The drinking water and sanitation ministry will move additional water supplies in the affected areas and is keeping packaged drinking water ready.
The ministry of food processing industries is keeping in readiness packaged ready-to-eat food. The health ministry has mobilised emergency medical teams, medicines and also coordinated with the Red Cross to provide assistance. It has kept ready 17 public health response teams and five quick response medical teams with emergency drugs.
The department of telecommunication has issued orders to all operators to allow free SMS for cyclone-related messages and inter-operability of mobile networks by other operators. The petroleum ministry has ensured the availability of sufficient petroleum and oil in the affected areas.
The Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations while the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force units in the three states have also been put on standby.
The ministry of shipping has disengaged all ships at Paradip Port and has deployed emergency vessels.
In West Bengal capital Kolkata, authorities directed advertisers to take down all hoardings in the city.
As the cyclone progresses into West Bengal, it should weaken gradually into a severe cyclonic storm with winds of 90-100kmph and gusts of 115kmph before entering Bangladesh as a cyclonic storm on Saturday evening with winds of 60-70kmph.