Cyclone Fani | 8 dead in Odisha, 'weakened cyclonic storm' to hit West Bengal: 10 developments to know
Kolkata witnessed sporadic rainfall on Friday ahead of Cyclone Fani's estimated arrival in West Bengal by early morning May 4, by when it would have weakened to a 'severe cyclonic storm'.
BHUBANESWAR: Cyclone Fani on Friday lashed Odisha, triggering heavy rainfall accompanied by wind touching speed of 200 kmph, and left eight persons dead besides over 160 injured, and trail of destruction that included damaged houses, uprooted trees and electricity poles. The impact of the "extremely severe cyclonic storm", which made landfall close to the temple town of Puri between 8 a.m and 10 a.m. was also felt in parts of West Bengal, including the beach town of Digha, and Andhra Pradesh.
Helpline number - 1938 - has been made operational by Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Odisha government has evacuated over 11 lakh people, including at least 600 pregnant women, to camps on higher grounds.
Fani is expected to hit West Bengal early morning May 4, by when it would have weakened in intensity to categorize as a “severe cyclonic storm”. The wind speed will still be 120 kilometres per hour, however. Torrential rainfall is predicted for the southern districts of West Bengal on Saturday.
HERE ARE TEN HIGHLIGHTS:
DEATH TOLL: At least eight people were killed in separate incidents in Odisha, news agencies quoted officials as saying. A teenager was killed when a tree came crashing down on him in Puri. Flying debris from a concrete structure hit a woman in Nayagarh district. In Kendrapara, a 65-year-old woman died after a suspected heart attack at a cyclone shelter.
FANI TO WEAKEN: The system is expected to weaken gradually and emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a "severe cyclonic storm" by the early morning of May 4, the MeT department said. Thereafter, it is expected to move further north-northeastwards and emerge into Bangladesh by May 4 evening as a cyclonic storm.
WEST BENGAL: Parts of Kolkata received rainfall which led to inundation and traffic snarls on Friday. In West Bengal, it will affect East and West Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram districts and state capital Kolkata.
NORTH EAST BRACES UP: Meghalaya government has sought deployment of a platoon of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the state in view of Cyclone Fani, The storm, which is heading towards West Bengal, will gradually head towards the northeast. Assam government has directed officials and agencies concerned to be on alert.
POLL CAMPAIGNS HIT: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled all her election rallies till May 5 in her state. PM Modi's election rally in Jharkhand, which was scheduled for May 5, has been postponed to May 6. BJP chief Amit Shah's and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath's rallies in Jharkhand too have been cancelled.
AID ANNOUNCED: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre has released Rs. 1,000 crores to Odisha and other states to deal with the devastation caused by Fani.
POWER HIT: Power supply snapped due to the uprooting of electricity poles, damage to substations and KV lines. The cyclone caused damage to telecom towers resulting in failure of cellular and land-line telephone networks in several areas including capital Bhubaneswar. All telephone and cell phones are down in Puri district.
AIIMS BHUBANESHWAR AFFECTED: The storm caused extensive damage to AIIMS Bhubaneswar with several overhead water tanks and a part of the roof getting blown away. Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said. Meanwhile, a large crane at an under-construction building site fell on the buildings nearby but there was no indication whether there were any human casualty.
TRAVEL HIT: Civilian air services have been suspended from airports in Odisha and Kolkata while nearly 225 trains cancelled including 56 on Friday. Equipment at Bhubaneswar airport have been significantly damaged but flight operations are expected to begin by 1 pm Saturday. No flights will depart or arrive at Kolkata airport from 3 pm Friday to 8 am Saturday, aviation regulator DGCA said. Around 220 trains along the Howrah-Chennai route have been cancelled keeping in view passengers' safety, as per TV reports.
FORCES ON STANDBY: 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. NDRF has deployed 65 teams for rescue and relief work in areas of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Reports say that is the highest number of teams deployed since Cyclone Phailin in 2013 when 63 teams were deployed.
The name ''Fani", which is pronounced as "Foni", was suggested by Bangladesh, and it means the hood of a snake.
Fani is billed as the most severe cyclonic storm since the super cyclone of 1999 that claimed close to 10,000 lives and left a trail of destruction in vast swathes of Odisha, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. The Meteorological Department said it is the first cyclonic storm of such severity in April in India's oceanic neighbourhood in 43 years.
The cyclone has formed due to warming of the Bay of Bengal basin, according to Former Director of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar, Sarat Sahu.
The Railways helpline numbers are:
Bhubaneswar- (0674-2303060, 2301525, 2301625)
Khurda Road (0674-2490010, 2492511, 2492611)
Sambalpur (0663- 2532230, 2533037, 2532302)
Visakhapatnam - (0891- 2746255, 1072)
(With inputs from ANI, IANS and PTI)