With a wind speed of over 185 kmph, severe cyclonic storm Fani barrelled into the coast of Odisha's Puri district on Friday (May 3) morning. Large areas in Odisha and other places have been affected and are submerged with water as cyclone Fani made landfall at around 8 am in the morning.
Trees were uprooted, hoardings and windows panes were ransacked in Bhubaneswar and other places as the powerful tropical storm hit the entire eastern coastline, covering Bengal, Andhra Pradesh along with Odisha.
Here are the top 10 developments:
1. All flight operations to and from Kolkata Airport have been cancelled from 3 pm today till 8 am on Saturday. The confirmation came from the Airports Authority of India. Flight operations from Bhubaneswar Airport have been cancelled from midnight. At least 140 trains including 83 passenger trains have been cancelled so far.
2. The state government of Odisha has already evacuated over a million people from the coastal areas to camps on higher grounds. Around 14 districts in Odisha are in the path of the Cyclone Fani. People have been moved to safe zones from Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Naygarh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar which are expected to be badly impacted by the storm. Almost 11 lakh people have been evacuated in the past 24 hours. Ganjam and Puri evacuated more than 3 lakh and 1.3 lakh people respectively to safe shelters. About 5,000 kitchens started operating to serve food to people in the shelters.
3. A bulletin released by the IMD stated that winds in Puri are blowing at a maximum speed of 240-245 km per hour and heavy to very heavy rains are continuing over the coast of Odisha. Now, West Bengal and Assam braces for impact of Cyclone Fani.
4. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee have cancelled her political rallies for next 48 hours in view of the Cyclone Fani. Banerjee has requested people to cooperate and to stay safe and alert during the storm. She has stationed herself closer to the coastal belt in Kharagpur to detect the condition for consecutive two days.
Taking to Twitter, Mamata Banerjee said, "Have cancelled my rallies for the next 48 hours because of what could be an impending disaster #CyclonicStormFANI We are monitoring the situation 24x7 and doing all it takes. I appeal to all people to cooperate. Be alert, take care and stay safe for the next two days."
5. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has warned people against the hazards of stepping out during Cyclone Fani. NDMA has tweeted from its official handle and shared a video showing two men on a bridge amid strong winds with the caption: "This is exactly what one should NOT do during a cyclone. Request you to please go to a safe place. #CycloneFani".
6. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has sent dozens of teams to flood-prone coastal regions, as well as the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard have been put on high alert. To tackle an emergency situation, six teams of the NDRF have been deployed in Jhargram district's Sankrail, West Medinipur's Narayangarh Block, in Ramnagar of East Medinipur district, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas, Dhamakhali and Hasnabad of North 24 Parganas district.
A visual showing NDRF team trying to move the uprooted trees and branches:
7. Fani, pronounced "foni", is expected to move into West Bengal next. Earlier, a red alert was sounded in Andhra Pradesh's Srikakulam after heavy rain and gusty winds uprooted trees and electricity poles. Around 20,000 people were shifted to 126 relief camps in Srikakulam. But, now de-warning has been issued in Andhra Pradesh as cyclone Fani moves towards Bengal. Mrityunjay Mohapatra, IMD, Delhi stated, "Cyclone Fani has moved away from Andhra Pradesh, so we have issued a de-warning. Three districts in the state were impacted by heavy rainfall."
8. The next stop of cyclone Fani is West Bengal. It will affect East and West Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram districts and state capital Kolkata. The tropical cyclonic storm Fani is very likely to move further north-northwestwards and emerge into Bangladesh by Saturday evening.
9. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has operationalised helpline number 1938 for cyclone Fani.
10. Back in 1999, a super-cyclone battered Odisha's coast for 30 hours which claimed around 10,000 lives. Cyclone Fani is the strongest storm in India in 20 years.