Cyclone Fani, also termed as the worst cyclonic storm to hit India since 1999, has already started demonstrating its impact with several trees being uprooted, heavy rainfall coupled with high-velocity winds sweeping across several coastal districts like Ganjam, Puri, Khurda and Gajapati. The seaside pilgrim town of Puri and neighbouring areas are submerged with water as heavy rains battered the entire coastal belt of the state. The areas are experiencing wind with a speed of 175 kilometres per hour which may go up to 200 kmph. Speaking to PTI, Mritunjay Mohapatra, in-charge of the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, said the process of landfall will continue for the next three hours. The area along Puri is witnessing winds with a speed of 145 kilometres per hour that could reach up to 180-200 kmph, which could bring ‘extensive damage’.
Indian Navy’s Warships to carry rescue operations
Three Indian Navy’s warships – Sahyadri, Ranvir and Kadmatt – with relief material and medical teams are tracking the cyclone and will be the first responder and start rescue work as soon the storm hits the coast in Odisha. The ship sailed south of the cyclone to be able to start rescue operations even as other naval vessels remain on standby at Vishakhapattanam. Naval divers’ teams have also moved to Odisha from Vishakhapattanam.
On May 2, at 6:29 pm, Indian Navy released three pictures to show how strong the cyclone is. Two pictures showed the deck of the ship tilting in the opposite directions. While the other picture shows wet quarterdeck showing the ship had been in and out of water.
11 lakh people evacuated
According to officials, the already rough sea in Puri is turbulent. Evacuation has been carried out till 5 km of the beach area. Even the calm sea in Chandipur is violent. Nearly 11 lakh people have been evacuated from the vulnerable areas to safer places in the last 24 hours in Odisha. Ganjam and Puri districts have evacuated more than 3 lakh and 1.3 lakh people, respectively. Although the evacuation was extremely difficult given that people were not ready to leave their house and belongings. According to reports, six people have lost their lives due to the uprooting of trees.
Watch strong winds lashing Puri
A video shared by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) on Twitter shows Cyclone Fani’s strong winds lashing the city of Puri.
To move northeast
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani is expected to move Northeast and weaken to a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ over the next six hours.
Telecommunication networks have been reportedly partially disrupted in Puri and Bhubaneswar.
Flights and Trains Cancelled
All flights from Bhubaneshwar have been cancelled from midnight. Kolkata airport will be shut between 9.30 pm on May 3 (Friday) till 6 pm on May 4 (Saturday). In addition to the 147 trains, scheduled from May 1 to May 3, cancelled earlier, East Coast Railway has cancelled 10 more trains. Overall, more than 220 trains that pass along the Odisha coastline on the Kolkata-Chennai route have been cancelled.
According to reports, the road network in several parts of Odisha has suffered extensive damage.
All India Radio News has shared railway helpline numbers to know about information related to train services.
Helpline number ‘1938’ has been made operational by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Indian Coast Guard has positioned 34 disaster relief teams at Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Paradip, Gopalpur, Haldia, Frazergunj and Kolkata besides four ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai
All India Radio News shared a list of district-wise helpline numbers in Odisha.
Things to remember
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has shared a list of things to do and avoid.
Red Alert in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam
Due to heavy rainfall and gusty winds, a red alert has been announced in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam. Over 20,000 people have been shifted to relief camps.
PM Modi Rally Postponed
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rally in Jharkhand’s Chaibasa, scheduled for May 5, and has been postponed to May 6. While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has cancelled her election rallies for 48 hours. According to ANI, BJP President Amit Shah has cancelled three rallies scheduled in Jharkhand.
(Inputs from Agencies)
(Compiled by Sonali S Pimputkar)