Cyclone Fani kills 3, submerges villages in Puri

New Delhi, May 3 (HS): The landfall process of the extremely severe cyclone Fani began on Friday morning with strong winds and rain hitting Puri district in Odisha.
Strong winds have also hit Bhubaneswar. A “Red Alert” was sounded in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam after heavy rain and gusty winds uprooted trees and electricity poles. About 20,000 people were shifted to 126 relief camps in Srikakulam.
Fani will be the second severe April cyclone in almost 120 years to hit India as it moves along a familiar route to make landfall in Odisha.The state is no stranger to destruction coming in from the sea.
In the wake of the cyclonic storm, the Odisha administration has evacuated over 11 lakh people from the vulnerable districts since Thursday. More than 3 lakh people have been evacuated from Ganjam district alone, followed by 1.3 lakh from Puri district where landfall is expected.
About 5000 kitchens are being operated to serve people in shelters.
The IMD said, several houses destroyed, trees uprooted and power and road networks affected in Odisha. Nearly 11 lakh people have been evacuated from the vulnerable areas to safer places in last 24 hours in Odisha. The extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani is very likely to move north-northeastwards and weaken into a very severe cyclonic storm during next 6 hours.
Mritunjay Mohapatra, in-charge of the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department said , The area along Puri is witnessing winds with a speed of 142 kilometres per hour that could reach up to 180-200 kmph. Large areas in Puri and other places were submerged with water as heavy rains battered the entire coastal belt of the state. Several trees were uprooted and thatched structures destroyed at some places including Bhubaneswar.
It is not expected to make landfall until Friday morning in Odisha, near the city of Puri, but tropical cyclone-force winds are already coming ashore in portions of Andhra Pradesh and along the Odisha coast as well.With winds expected to be 240 kilometers per hour (150 mph) at landfall, Tropical Cyclone Fani would be the strongest storm to hit the region since a similar system struck Odisha in 1999, resulting in at least 10,000 deaths.
PM Modi said, “The NDRF, Indian Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force are working with the states. I assure the affected people that nation and the Centre are with them,”. He added that Phoenix had obtained information about the storm. For this, assistance of Rs.1000 crores has been provided to the affected affected States. Center and related state governments are in touch with each other.BJP President Amit Shah too cancelled all three rallies in Jharkhand today, due to worsening weather conditions.
In a series of tweets, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday that all airlines must immediately respond to the concerns of passengers affected by Cyclone Fani. We are ready to offer help needed for the stranded due to cyclonic storm Fani.
Control room, helplines are manned all times to assist affected passengers. All Airlines must immediately respond to the concerns of passengers. Prabhu also said his ministry will work with the governments of the affected States to assist them in rescue and relief operations.
The electricity department in coastal Andhra Pradesh has asked people to stay alert to avoid accidents. 12,000 poles, 50 cranes, 40 pole drilling machines, 40 generators, 70 power saws, 2,000 transformers and other equipment were sent to the areas that could be affected.
All flights from Bhubaneswar stand cancelled, Kolkata airport will be shut between 9.30 pm on Friday to till 6 pm on Saturday. More than 200 flights from Kolkata will be cancelled. A total of 140 trains including 83 passenger trains have been cancelled so far.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said , High winds are also sweeping across several coastal districts like Ganjam,Khurda and Gajapati . He said the nearly 11 lakh people evacuated earlier from about 10,000 villages and 52 urban areas have been accommodated in over 4,000 shelters, including 880 specially designed cyclone centres.
Sethi further said, arrangements have been made to start free kitchens at the cyclone shelters. Around 4,000 such shelters, including 880 specially designed cyclone centres, are housing the evacuees. Over one lakh dry food packets have been kept ready for air dropping for which two choppers requisitioned.
Three Indian navy’s warships — Sahyadri, Ranvir and Kadmatt — with relief material and medical teams are tracking extremely severe cyclone Fani and will be the first responder and start rescue work as soon the storm hits the coast in Odisha.
IndiGo has issued a cyclone Fani alert on its social media page with a post, “Due to cyclone FANI, we’re offering our passengers to change and cancellation fee waiver for the passengers to/from Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam for travel between 02nd May’10 to 05th May’19.”
Vistara also issued a travel advisory for its passengers that it cancelled flights due to Fani cyclone. Vistara flights to and from Bhubaneshwar stand cancelled. Passengers on cancelled flights will receive full refunds.”
National carrier Air India also cancelled all its flights plying on that route in light of the storm. “Applicable penalities of reissuance, data change, no show, cancellation and refund charges are waived off on all tickets for travel to and fro Kolkata on May3,” the airline said in a statement.
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. Hindusthan Samachar

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