Eight dead as severe cyclone hits eastern Indian coast

Strong winds and heavy rain pounds Brahmapur in Odisha state

People in coastal areas of Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh are preparing to face the full onslaught of the cyclone.

"We had evacuated 300,000 residents from coastal areas of five districts where the storm was to make landfall as a precautionary measure", said Sethi.

As it hit the coast, the sustained winds were 165 kilometres per hour, meaning the system would have been classed as a category 2 hurricane if it were rated on the 5-point Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. Several teams of the Odisha Disaster Response Force (ODRF) were deployed in nine districts - Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khordha, Cuttack, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Boudh and Kalahandi, according to the Home Ministry.

Casualties were low as administrations in both states had evacuated thousands of people from the low-lying coastal areas bordering the Bay of Bengal. Thereafter, it is likely to re-curve northeastward, move towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and weaken gradually, said director of the Meteorological Centre in Bhubaneswar, H.R. Biswas. SRC Bishnupada Sethi said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) which is in touch with the state government has also alerted Indian Navy and Air force. So far, about 1,000 people have been shifted to safer place, he said.

Water Resources secretary Pradip Jena said that since the IMD has predicted extremely heavy rainfall in south Odisha, there is a possibility of flood in Rushikulya and Bansadhara rivers and their tributaries.




In a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Chief Secretary A P Padhi informed that the state has taken precautions to deal with the situation.

Maritime ports of: Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Mongla, and Payra have been advised to keep local warning signal no 4 hoisted.

Loading and unloading of goods from ships remain suspended at the outer anchorage of the Chittagong seaport since Wednesday morning when the storm intensified to a "severe cyclonic storm" over West-Central Bay and the adjoining areas. All the 836 cyclone and flood shelters have also been kept prepared and adequate relief materials arranged, he said.

The people in the affected districts can contact on the Congress helpline numbers - 7609852131, 8895203001, 9861011962, 7008799364, 9348161633, 8847858020, 9937948868 and 9237010939.

There were no deaths reported but trees and electricity poles were uprooted, officials told PTI, with roads and makeshift mud-brick houses also damaged.

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