Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held a review meeting with senior officials on the destruction caused by cyclonic storm Fani in the Odisha.
Speaking to media here after the meeting, Mr Patnaik said in the last 24 hours, over 12 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable districts to safer locations.
"Just now, I reviewed the cyclone situation with the chief secretary and other senior officers. Our first priority is to evacuate people living in vulnerable areas, including kutcha houses. In the last 24 hours, 12 lakh people have been evacuated to safer locations and they are being taken care of in shelters. As we speak, Fani (pronounced Foni) is still passing through Odisha, and an assessment of damage will be possible only after it crosses the state," he said.
Mr Patnaik said Puri, where the cyclone made landfall, has suffered the most amount of damage.
"Restoration of electricity is a challenge. Electricity supply will be restored in Ganjam by tomorrow. Restoration of communication has been completed in Ganjam and Gajapati districts," he added.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Fani moved north-northeastwards at 20 kmph in the last six hours and weakened into a "severe cyclonic storm".
"It lay centred at 08:30 pm over coastal Odisha about 110 kilometre southwest of Midnapore in West Bengal, 80 kilometre southwest of Digha and 210 kilometre southwest of Kolkata," said a statement issued by the IMD.
"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards during next 12 hours and emerge into Gangetic West Bengal with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 105 kmph by the early morning of May 4," it added.
Quick Reaction Team of Navy from INS Chilka provided emergency assistance in nearby villages in cutting and clearing of trees which had fallen due to the cyclonic storm. The team also conducted mobile medical camps at various villages around Chilka.
A primary school in the nearby village of Gadadwar in Khurdha district was functioning as a shelter station and was also the venue for a community kitchen to cater to the locals in the region.
In the wake of the aftermath of the cyclone, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhubaneswar has rescheduled PG entrance examination for July session till further orders. The exam was earlier scheduled to take place on May 5.
Cyclone Fani made landfall in the morning of May 3 and wreaked havoc in the state of Odisha. It has claimed three lives and left more than 160 injured, besides causing large scale destruction of property.