Bhubaneswar, May 4 : At least three people were killed in the cyclonic storm Fani on Friday as it weakened from an ‘extremely severe’ to ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm, and is predicted to further weaken to a ‘severe storm’ in the next six hours. While a teenage boy was crushed to death by a falling tree in Puri, flying debris from a concrete structure killed a woman in Nayagarh. An elderly woman died of heart attack during the storm at a relief shelter in Kendrapara district. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the cyclone situation this evening.
“Just now, I reviewed the cyclone situation this evening with chief secretary and senior officers,”Mr Patnaik said. “Our first priority was to evacuate people living in vulnerable areas including kuccha houses. In the last 24 hours about 12 lakh people were evacuated in vulnerable districts to safer locations. Our immediate priorities are taking care of the people evacuated and taking them to cyclone shelters and other such places,” Mr Patnaik stated.
“As we speak ‘Fani’ cyclone is still passing through Odisha. Assessment of damage would be possible only after it crosses Odisha,” he said. The chief minister said Puri town and Puri district where landfall happened suffered huge damage. Energy infrastructure had been completely destroyed and it would be a challenging task to restore electricity, he said.
However, electricity supply would be restored in Ganjam district tomorrow and the task was being taken up on war footing in other areas, the CM assured. Restoration of road communication had started. It had already been completed in Ganjam and Gajapati Districts, he added. Four districts - Cuttack, Khordha, Bhubaneswar and Puri - have borne the brunt of Cyclone Fani, according to a report sent by the Odisha government to the Centre. The report stated there was extensive damage to dwellings.
Damaging houses, uprooting thousands of trees and electricity poles, the eye of Fani, almost 25 km in diametre, was sending off winds at velocity of 150 to 175 kmph, gusting to 180kmph or more in some places, said the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Power supply has been snapped due to uprooting of at least 1 lakh electricity poles and damage to substations and KV lines had been reported. Puri and Bhubaneswar were submerged in darkness as a result.
Telecommunication lines snapped in several parts of state capital Bhubaneswar, Puri district and several other areas. Mobile towers were damaged resulting disruption of cellular and telephone network. Train services had been completely affected in Puri, Bhubneshwar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Palasa and Vizianagaram section. Overhead wires, signalling system, tracks and railway platforms suffered damages. Large areas in the seaside of pilgrim town Puri and other places were submerged with water as heavy rains battered the entire coastal belt of the state.
Thatched structures destroyed at some places including Bhubaneswar. As many as 11, 59,439 persons in 18 districts and one ULB have been evacuated and sheltered in 6,564 cyclone shelters in Odisha. Free kitchens have been set up to serve them. The East Coast Railway said it 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.
Flights to and from the Bhubaneswar airport have been cancelled for Friday. The Odisha government thanked the Andhra Pradesh government for its timely support through Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) which helped minimise loss to properties and human lives by the super cyclone Fani. According to an official release, Odisha chief secretary Aditya Phadi called his Andhra Pradesh counterpart L V Subrahmanyam and expressed gratitude to the AP government and the services extended by RTGS. “The Odisha government praised the efficiency and accuracy of the RTGS,” the official release said.
India Meteorological Department said the Cyclone Fani — the strongest to hit India in five years — is gradually weakening and moving towards West Bengal after which it will enter Bangladesh. Heavy rains, along with strong winds will continue throughout Friday in Odisha, where more than a million people have been evacuated. (UNI)