The cyclonic storm Phailin made landfall at Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha with a wind speed of over 200 kilometres per hour at around 9 pm IST after a delay of about an hour, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
The cyclone Phailin, which is the worst in 14 years, slammed into the east coastal areas with a wind speed of 200 kmph which is expected to increase up to 210 to 220 kmph according to Met Department.
At least seven people have died in Odisha because of the high winds due to falling trees, according to television reports. Officials said that 18 fishermen in Odisha and 30 people in Ventura in Kaviti Mandal, Andhra Pradesh have been stranded.
Electricity poles and trees have been uprooted in the coastal areas and about 1.26 crore people are expected to be affected by the cyclone classified as "very severe". Officials said that the storm will subside about six hours after the landfall and the estimated damaged can be ascertained only on Sunday. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue till Monday.
A massive relief operation has been pressed into action by state and central agencies with over five lakh people living in the "danger zone" being evacuated to safer palces to avoid loss of human life. As many as 500 cyclone camps, each with a capacity of sheltering 1,500 people, have been built to accommodate the evacuated people.
The National Disaster Management Authority said that nearly 2,000 of its personnel have been deployed in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal states and 18 choppers from airforce have been pressed into action. Authorities have also cut off power supply in the coastal areas as a precautionary measure.
At least 29 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will take stock of the situation and help rescue operations in Odisha and 15 NDRF teams have been stationed in Andhra Pradesh, and four additional teams have been sent from Tamil Nadu to help rescue operations.
The Met Department had earlier said that the cyclone would make landfall between 6-8 pm on Saturday and hit districts like Ganjam, Khordha, Gajapati and Jagatsinghpur and Puri. It added that the cyclone "would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 210-220 kmph gusting to 240 kmph."
Telephone Numbers of Emergency Operation Centres:
State Emergency Operation Centre - 06742534177
Ganjam District: 06811-263978
Puri District: 06752-223237
Jagatsinghpur District: 06724-220368
Kendrapada District: 06727-232803
Bhadrak District: 06784-251881
Balasore District: 06782-262674
Mayurbhanj District: 06792-252759
Jajpur District: 06728-222648
Cuttack District: 0671-2507842
Khordha District: 06755-220002
Nayagarh District: 06753-252978
Gajapati District: 06815-222943
Dhenkanal District: 06762-221376
Keonjhar District: 06766-255437
VIDEO: Home Minister's brief on preparation to handle upcoming Cyclone Phailin