PURI, ODISHA: Three people have died as Cyclone Fani barreled into Odisha this morning, uprooting trees and electricity poles, and cut off the power supply in many parts of the state. Large areas in the temple town of Puri and other places were submerged as heavy rain battered the coast, according to officials. The cyclonic storm – the strongest cyclone in India in 20 years – is weakening gradually, moving towards West Bengal. The Odisha government has evacuated over 11 lakh people, including at least 600 pregnant women, to camps on higher grounds. “I assure the affected people that the nation and the centre are with them,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a rally in Rajasthan. He said over Rs. 1,000 crores had been released in advance for the states affected by Cyclone Fani.
Here are the top 10 updates on Cyclone Fani
- All flights from Bhubaneswar have been cancelled from midnight, Kolkata airport will be shut from 3 pm today to 8 am tomorrow. More than 200 flights from Kolkata will be cancelled.
- Three people were killed in separate incidents in Odisha, news agency PTI quoted officials as saying. A teenager was killed when a tree came crashing down on him in Puri. Flying debris from a concrete structure hit a woman in Nayagarh district. In Kendrapara, a 65-year-old woman died after a suspected heart attack at a cyclone shelter.
- West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has cancelled her election rallies for 48 hours because of Cyclone Fani. PM Modi’s election rally in Jharkhand, which was scheduled for May 5, has been postponed to May 6, said BJP’s Jharkhand unit spokesman Rajesh Kumar Shukla. BJP chief Amit Shah’s and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s rallies in Jharkhand today too have been cancelled.
- A red alert was sounded in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam after heavy rain and gusty winds uprooted trees and electricity poles. About 20,000 people were shifted to 126 relief camps in Srikakulam.
- “It just went dark and then suddenly we could barely see five metres in front of us,” said a Puri resident. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is closely monitoring the situation.
- Over 147 trains have been cancelled till tomorrow. Three special trains were run from Puri to Howrah and Shalimar in West Bengal yesterday to facilitate the evacuation of tourists.
- In West Bengal, it will affect East and West Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram districts and state capital Kolkata.
- The Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and disaster management agencies are on standby. Indian Navy’s long reconnaissance aircraft, P8I, and short-range coastal reconnaissance aircraft, Dornier, will be launched for aerial surveys to assess the extent of impact and devastation.
- Cyclone Fani is the strongest cyclonic storm since the Super Cyclone of 1999, which claimed close to 10,000 lives and battered the Odisha coast for 30 hours. The Meteorological Department said it is the first cyclonic storm of such severity in April in India’s oceanic neighbourhood in 43 years.
- The name ”Fani”, which is pronounced as “Foni”, was suggested by Bangladesh. Roughly translated, “Fani” means the hood of a snake, according to reports.