Cyclone Fani: Over 25 lakh families without electricity in Odisha

Sunday, 05 May, 2019

Having hit land, Cyclone Fani had lost some of its power and was downgraded to a deep depression by the India Meteorological Department.

"Calling Cyclone "very severe", IMD said, Cyclonic Storm Fani over coastal Odisha moved north-northeastwards at 20 kmph in the last 6 hours and weakened into a Severe Cyclonic Storm and lay centered at 2030 hrs over Coastal Odisha about 110 km southwest of Midnapore (West Bengal), 80 km southwest of Digha and 210 km southwest of Kolkata".

The strongest cyclone to hit India in five years killed at least twelve people in eastern Odisha state, before swinging north-eastwards into Bangladesh on Saturday where four more people died although more than a million had been evacuated.

The monster weather system, which threatened to bring a risky storm surge that could flood low-lying areas, was packing winds of up to 180kmh as it ripped into the country's east coast.

The state of Odisha has sent thousands of disaster management personnel to aid residents living in mud-and-thatched homes in low-lying regions seek shelter, Reuters reported.

The weather system made landfall in the Hindu holy town of Puri, a major tourist destination on the coast that attracts millions of visitors every year. The state was hit by a super cyclone in 1999 with wind speeds that were estimated to have reached a maximum 270 kph leaving nearly 10,000 people dead. Meanwhile, the storm also had a string impact in cities like Kharagpur and Burdwan as trees were uprooted and metal hoardings gave way.

Bishnupada Sethi, the state relief commissioner, said that no casualties had been reported.

Bangladeshi workers cover a pile of fertiliser with a plastic sheet in Khulna on May 3, 2019, as Cyclone Fani barrels northeastwards into West Bengal state and towards Bangladesh. Seaports have been ordered shut, a government official said.

Puri's famous 12th-century Jagannath temple escaped damage, however.

Authorities in Bangladesh, next in Fani's trajectory, said a woman was killed by a tree, and that 14 villages were inundated as a tidal surge breached flood dams. Fani is expected to move northeastwards toward Bangladesh, with the homes of 100 million people in its path. Additionally, Hyundai India is also offering special discounts on spare parts for repairs and restorations of cyclone-affected vehicles, along with a 50 per cent discount on depreciation on insurance claims. "Another person went out in the storm despite our warnings and died because a tree fell on him". In 1999, a super-cyclone battered the coast of Odisha for 30 hours, killing 10,000 people. In 2013, a mass evacuation of almost a million people likely saved thousands of lives.