Bhubaneswar: Cyclonic storm Phailin, classified as "very severe", has made landfall near Gopalpur on Odisha coast. The cyclone has prompted the country's biggest evacuation in 23 years with more than eight lakh people moved up from the coastline in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to safer places.
Here are the latest developments:
- A massive relief operation has been mounted by multiple state and central agencies. The immediate focus is to ensure there is not loss of life. Phailin is expected to affect around 1.2 crore people in India. While Odisha has reportedly evacuated over 7.2 lakh people, Andhra Pradesh has moved about a lakh to safety. (Read: Over seven lakh people evacuated in Odisha, say sources)
- The storm made landfall near Gopalpur and has caused very heavy rain along the coast and in most parts of Odisha. (Full coverage)
- The Cyclone hit land with wind speed of around 200 kilometres per hour, marginally less than expected. Tidal waves rose to 3.5 metres. In Ganjam district, there are reports of wind speeds hitting upto 240 km per hour. The cyclone is expected to remain "very severe" for up to six hours after hitting the coast. (Track updates)
- It is been raining in coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh through the day and power supply has been cut from Ichchapuram to Palasa in Andhra Prdaesh and in seven coastal districts in Odisha. Power supply has been hit in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar too. (A look at devastating cyclones from Bay of Bengal)
- There have been reports of strong winds uprooting trees and electricity poles in Santhabomalli in Srikakulam district from before the storm struck. At least five deaths have been reported across the state due to incidents of wall collapse, all before the cyclone made landfall. (Watch) | (Read: Rain and wind batter east coast as cyclone Phailin barrels down)
- All 56 trains on the Howrah-Visakhapatnam route have been cancelled and about 16 trains have been diverted. These trains are likely to be cancelled tomorrow as well. Road traffic is also likely to be hit by the heavy rain. Odisha's airport in capital Bhubaneswar is closed and is expected to remain so till tomorrow evening. (Read) 10 flights were cancelled today. An aircraft with more than 500 tonnes of relief material landed at the airport this morning. (Helpline numbers)
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed that all possible assistance be extended to the states which are on alert for the cyclone. Meanwhile, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the government is ready with 18 helicopters, 12 aircraft and two ships for rescue efforts. (Read: Government ready with choppers, aircraft, ships)
- Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have been warned about extensive damage to homes, communication and power systems and crops in the storm. Odisha's Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patra told NDTV, "We are fighting against nature. We are better prepared this time, we learnt a lot from 1999." Nearly 15,000 people died in the 1999 super-cyclone. (Read: Red alert issued as Cyclone Phailin closes in)
- The Army has deployed 10,000 jawans for relief operations. The Air Force is on standby with 40 planes and choppers in Nashik, Ranchi, Bangalore, Nagpur and Barrackpore and 60 Navy teams, including divers are on alert; Navy ships will be deployed after the cyclone makes landfall.(See pics)
- The Met department has also predicted rains in parts of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the next 24 hours.