At least three people were killed in Odisha after Cyclone Fani, which has been classified as an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”, made landfall on Friday morning south of Puri.
Director General of NDRF SN Pradhan told ANI that so far three people have died, and added that several precautions have been taken. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Rs 1,000 crore was released in advance to states in the cyclone’s path, according to PTI.
“I can confirm two deaths for now,” Odisha state special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi had told AFP earlier in the day. “One old man in one of the shelters died because of [a] heart attack. Another person went out in the storm despite our warnings and died because a tree fell on him.” According to an unconfirmed report, six people have died in the state.
While addressing a rally in Rajasthan, Modi said a review meeting was held on Thursday to discuss the cyclone. He said the government was with the people in times of crises.
The cyclone has weakened into “very severe cyclonic storm”, according to the Met department, and it is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a “severe cyclonic storm during the next nine hours”. It is likely to emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a “severe cyclonic storm” early on Saturday.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs said the eye of Cyclone Fani “completely moved into land” by 10 am, weakening its strength, but heavy rainfall was still expected in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and parts of the northeastern states, PTI reported.
In Bhubaneswar, the storm uprooted several tees while low-lying areas were flooded and roadside kiosks were found upside down, The Hindu reported. A crane installed at the premises of a high-rise building under construction near the Raghanathpur area collapsed. The failure of telecom services also added to the chaos.
According to the National Emergency Response Centre, power and telecommunication lines in Puri district are down and work is under way to restore connections, PTI reported.
Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Army and the Air Force have been deployed in a mass operations.
On Friday, moderate rainfall is expected at most places, heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places over the state’s coastal areas and adjoining districts in the interior, PTI reported. Most places are likely to receive light to moderate rains on Saturday, with heavy to very heavy rainfall expected at isolated places in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts.
The cyclone triggered heavy rains in parts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh, while gusty winds uprooted trees and electricity poles, IANS reported quoting officials. The cyclone had moved close to north coastal Andhra before it made landfall in Odisha.
Gusty winds with speed reaching up to 140 kmph swept across coastal areas of Srikakulam district. Collector J Nivas said three houses were damaged in the strong winds, but no casualties were reported.
Light to moderate rainfall is likely at most places with heavy to very heavy rains at isolated places over Srikakulam district on Friday. Light to moderate rainfall is likely in West Bengal on Friday, with heavy to very heavy showers at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places.
Light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places and heavy rains at isolated places over sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on Saturday.
Squally winds and rains hit Kolkata as the cyclone made landfall in Odisha. Coastal areas of the state also experienced heavy rains along with strong winds, PTI reported.
“The eye of the storm is likely to be weakened when it enters West Bengal,” an official of the weather department said, reported PTI. “The wind speed will be around 100 kmph to 110 kmph.”
Political leaders called off election rally for 24 hours in view of the storm. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled her rallies for the next 48 hours “because of what could be an impending disaster”. “We are monitoring the situation 24x7 and doing all it takes,” she said on Twitter. “I appeal to all people to cooperate. Be alert, take care and stay safe for the next two days.”