Cyclone Phailin made landfall near Gopalpur on Odisha coast on Saturday night
Bhubaneswar: The "very severe" cyclonic storm Phailin that made landfall near Gopalpur in Odisha on Saturday night has snapped power and communication lines in the state and damaged over 2.34 lakh houses affecting nearly 80 lakh people. Timely and massive evacuation efforts have helped minimise the loss of life, but Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said that rehabilitation is now a "big challenge" for his government.
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"First priority was to save precious human lives and to a great extent we have achieved that," Mr Patnaik told NDTV, as his government moved over nine lakh people to safer places ahead of the cyclone. Earlier in the day, the chief minister said that rehabilitation now was a "big challenge". (Watch)
So far, 13 people are reported have died due to cyclone-related incidents in Odisha and one in Andhra Pradesh, Marri Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority said. Six of them died before the storm hit yesterday. The toll could have been worse given the ferocity of the cyclone that hit the Odisha coast with wind speed of around 200 kilometres per hour. (Full coverage)
The India Meteorological Department chief LS Rathore told reporters this morning that accurate track and intensity predictions helped save lives. (Track LIVE updates)
The IMD chief also informed that cyclone Phailin is moving north-northwestwards and is weakening gradually. (Helplines numbers)
Under the influence of the cyclone, several parts of Odisha like Paradip will witness heavy rainfall for next 24 hours. The Met department has also predicted heavy rainfall in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim in the next 48 hours. It has also issued a flood warning for Bihar. (Cyclone Phailin: NDTV reports from Ground Zero)
The morning after the cyclone hit, cars were seen tumbled over on the roads in areas like Berhampur. Trees and electricity poles were uprooted due to strong winds. Glass windows of several houses were shattered and roofs of kuchcha houses were blown away. Efforts are on to reopen road connectivity and restore communication and power lines soonest. A total of 29 NDRF teams are conducting rescue and relief operations and trying to restore the infrastructure badly affected by the storm. (In pics: The morning after the Cyclone Phailin)
Ganjam district in south Odisha is believed to have been the worst-hit due to the cyclone, with extensive damage to crops and some buildings. "Over five lakh hectares of standing crops have been destroyed by the gushing waters causing an estimated loss of Rs 2,400 crore," Odisha Revenue Minister S N Patro told PTI.
Coastal areas in northern Andhra Pradesh however managed to escape the fury of Phailin.
The cyclone has destroyed railway signals and high-tension electricity wires and uprooted tracks and railway platforms at various stations, bringing rail services in the region to a halt. "More than 100 trains have been cancelled in Bhadrak, Puri and Palasa sections while at least 25 other trains have been diverted," East Coast Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said today. The airport in capital Bhubaneswar was also closed yesterday and 10 flights were cancelled.
As the cyclone hit Gopalpur yesterday, tidal waves rose to 3.5 metres. In Ganjam district, there were reports of wind speeds hitting upto 240 km per hour.