- Cyclone Titli has been categorised as a "very severe cyclonic storm"
- Coastal areas of Odisha, northern Andhra Pradesh to be affected
- NDRF, Odisha disaster relief teams positioned in vulnerable districts
Cyclone Titli hit coastal Odisha bringing with it strong winds and heavy rain in the region. "Titli", which means butterfly in Hindi, made a landfall in the beach town of Gopalpur between 4:30 and 5:30 this morning. Trees and electric poles were uprooted in several parts. Over three lakh people in Odisha's five coastal districts have been moved to safety.
Flights and train services between Andhra and Odisha have also been affected because of Cyclone Titli. IndiGo Airline has cancelled five flights to and from Bhubaneswar.
'Titli', which has been categorised as a "very severe cyclonic storm", hit the coast with a speed of 140 to 150 kmph, the Met department said. The cyclone is moving towards West Bengal and is expected to weaken gradually with decreasing wind speed.
"There has been no major damage or report of casualty received from any part of the state so far. Some destruction was reported from Ganjam and Gajapati districts," Special Relief Commissioner BP Sethi said.
Power supply and telephone links got disrupted and road lines were snapped due to uprooted trees at many places of Gajapati district, Mr Sethi said. There are also reports of damages to mud houses.
As the landfall process started, at least five districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur are receiving heavy rainfall coupled with high speed winds.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who took stock of the situation yesterday, asked the collectors of Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Kendrapara and Jagtsinghpur districts to go for an immediate evacuation of people in low-lying areas in the coastal belt.
The Odisha government said it is prepared to face possible floods due to heavy rain.The people who have been moved out of their homes have been accommodated in shelters. Pregnant women have been shifted to hospitals.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force have already been positioned in vulnerable districts. "We have not yet sought help of Army. If required we may go for it," an official said. Another official said the Air Force and the Navy have been alerted about the situation.
(With inputs from PTI)