Flying debris kills woman in Odisha as cyclone Fani gains strength

Sunday, 05 May, 2019

Fani is the fourth major storm to slam into India's east coast in three decades, the last in 2017 when Cyclone Ockhi left almost 250 people dead and more than 600 missing in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

A strong wind blows a glass window into a building during Cyclone Fani in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India May 3, 2019 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media.

The India Meterological Department says the "extremely severe" cyclone in the Bay of Bengal hit the coastal state of Odisha around 8 a.m. on Friday.

In the coastal city of Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, strong winds and heavy rain battered an empty beach where fishing boats had been left on shore.

Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated along India's eastern coast on Thursday as authorities braced for a cyclone moving through the Bay of Bengal that was forecast to bring extremely severe wind and rain. India's Coast Guard is out distributing aid to survivors via helicopter and ship, the navy, air force and army on high alert.

Odisha special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said no deaths or injuries have been reported.

Most operations at all the ports on the east coast have been suspended, said Subrat Tripathy, chief executive officer of Dhamra Port in Odisha.

Most of the area's thatched-roof houses were destroyed, and there was no electricity. Three special trains were running however from Puri to evacuate pilgrims and tourists.

"More than 100,000 electric poles have been ravaged in Puri and Khurda districts".

Stranded passengers look at a flight information board displaying canceled flights following Cyclone Fani, at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India, Friday, May 3.

At least 200 trains were canceled across India. The Cyclone lashed the coast with maximum wind speeds of up to 175 kilometres per hour, heavy rainfall and coastal flooding, with 28 million people living along the route of the massive storm.

In order to tackle any emergency situation, six National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed at Sankrail in Jhargram district, Narayangarh Block in West Medinipur, Ramnagar in East Medinipur, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas, and Dhamakhali and Hasnabad in North 24 Parganas district.

Hundreds of climbers and guides huddled at the base camp, according to Pemba Sherpa of the Xtreme Climbers Trek, who said weather and visibility was poor.

A senior official said apart from a few mud houses collapsing and tress falling, there were no reports of casualties from any of the districts.

Over roughly half a century, 23 cyclones, or nearly 60 percent of those that hit the country, were observed between October and December.

According to graphics of Joint Typhoon Warning Centre and weather blog Windy's simulation, the storm will enter Bangladesh through Rajshahi-Meherpur region before crossing Rangpur to weaken further into a land depression.