Cyclone Fani: The Navy, Air Force and the NDRF and the Coast Guard are on standby. (Reuters)
New Delhi: Over a million people have been evacuated to temporary shelters in Odisha as Cyclone Fani - billed as the most severe cyclonic storm since the super cyclone of 1999 -- is expected to make landfall today very close to Puri, home to the famous Jagannath temple. Around 10,000 villages and more than 50 towns lie on its path. All flights from Bhubaneswar have been cancelled from midnight, Kolkata airport will be shut between 9.30 pm on Friday to till 6 pm on Saturday. The Railways has cancelled more than 200 trains that pass along the coast. Cyclone Fani was nearly 65 kilometres from Gopalpur and 80 kilometres from Puri at 5:30 am, the weather office said. On Saturday, the cyclone is likely to move along the Bengal coast towards Bangladesh.
Here are the top 10 updates on Cyclone Fani
- Cyclone Fani will be the most severe cyclonic storm since the Super Cyclone of 1999, which claimed close to 10,000 lives and left a trail of destruction across Odisha, the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre has said. The Meteorological Department said it is the first cyclonic storm of such severity in April in India's oceanic neighbourhood in 43 years.
- The Met Department has warned of very heavy rainfall and "phenomenal sea conditions". The wind speed is expected to be between 170 and 180 km an hour, which can even reach up to 200 km when it makes the landfall around 8:30 am. The process of landfall is expected to take around 5 hours.
- Evacuations are being conducted on a war footing across 11 coastal districts of Odisha -- Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, Ganjam, Khordha, Cuttack and Jajpur. The people are being shifted to 4000 storm shelters.
- In Bengal, tourists have been evacuated from the beaches of Digha, Mandarmani, Shankarpur and Tajpur. Besides state capital Kolkata, the cyclone is also likely to hit the districts of East and West Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Jhargram.
- In Andhra Pradesh, the districts of Srikakulam, Vijayanagram and Visakhapatnam are likely to be affected.
- The Navy, Air Force and National Disaster Response Force and the Coast Guard are on standby. The NDRF has deployed 28 teams in Odisha, 12 in Andhra Pradesh and six teams in West Bengal. Two ships and two Chetak helicopters are also ready for service.
- More than 220 trains that pass along the Odisha coastline on the Kolkata-Chennai route have been cancelled in view of cyclone. These include 140 Mail and Express trains and 83 passenger trains.
- An election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, due to held in Jharkhand's Chaibasa on May 5 has been deferred by a day. PM Modi today held a meeting with top officials to review the preparedness to tackle the situation after the cyclone makes landfall.
- Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked senior officers to oversee relief, rescue operations. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has also reviewed his officials' preparedness and promised all possible help to Odisha.
- The Bangladesh government has ordered mass evacuation in 19 coastal districts. The armed forces were also kept ready for disaster operations.
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