Cyclone Fani, the strongest storm in India in two decades, hit Odisha this morning and has started making its impact felt. Large areas in the temple town of Puri and other places were submerged as heavy rain battered the coast, according to officials. Strong winds were seen in parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal as well.
The impact of the landfall is likely to continue till around 11 am and after that, the cyclone is expected to move north-westwards and gradually weaken as it reaches Bengal by early tomorrow morning.
The Odisha government has evacuated over 11 lakh people from the coastal areas to camps on higher grounds. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and disaster management agencies are on stand-by. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, reviewed preparedness for Cyclone Fani with his senior-most officials.
Here are the top 10 updates on Cyclone Fani
- All flights from Bhubaneswar have been cancelled from midnight, Kolkata airport will be shut from 3 pm today to 8 am tomorrow. More than 200 flights from Kolkata will be cancelled.
- Odisha government moved over 11 lakh people, including at least 542 pregnant women, to safety in the last 24 hours and advised the public to remain indoor today. More than 3 lakh people have been evacuated from Ganjam district alone and 1.3 lakh from Puri. About 5,000 kitchens are operating to serve people in shelters.
- West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has cancelled her election rallies for 48 hours because of Cyclone Fani. PM Modi’s election rally in Jharkhand’s Chaibasa, which was scheduled for May 5, has been postponed to May 6, said BJP’s Jharkhand unit spokesman Rajesh Kumar Shukla. BJP chief Amit Shah’s and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s rallies in Jharkhand today too have been cancelled.
- 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.
- Relief commissioners and District Collectors are leading the operations on the ground. Trucks are ready with relief material in Bhubaneswar. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is closely monitoring the situation.
- The East Coast Railway has cancelled over 147 trains till tomorrow. Three special trains were run from Puri to Howrah and Shalimar in West Bengal yesterday to facilitate the evacuation of tourists.
- In West Bengal, it will affect East and West Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram districts and state capital Kolkata.
- 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.
- Cyclone Fani is the strongest cyclonic storm since the Super Cyclone of 1999, which claimed close to 10,000 lives and battered the Odisha coast for 30 hours. The Meteorological Department said it is the first cyclonic storm of such severity in April in India’s oceanic neighbourhood in 43 years.
- The name ”Fani”, which is pronounced as “Foni”, was suggested by Bangladesh. Roughly translated, “Fani” means the hood of a snake, according to reports.