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Cyclone Phailin live: Cyclone shifts to Jharkhand, weakens to low pressure

9.20 pm: Four helicopters sent by defence ministry to evacuate marooned population

With the focus now shifting from disaster mitigation of cyclone to flood relief, the defence ministry today said it has pressed four helicopters into service to evacuate the marooned local population as well as to drop relief materials to Phailin hit areas.

The choppers were pressed into service in Balasore, Odisha. The composite army columns comprising engineer and Infantry personnel have also relocated and moved towards Balasore, Ganjam and Jamshedpur to assist the authorities in flood relief operations.

8.45 pm: Odisha government purchases generators for water supply for cyclone-hit

With the state's power infrastructure badly hit due to cyclone Phailin, Odisha government today decided to immediately purchase some high-powered generators for water supply among the affected people, official sources said.

The decision was taken at a meeting after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik returned from a visit to the cyclone hit Ganjam district.

"It will take some time to restore power in Ganjam district," Patnaik told reporters on his return.

8 pm: Cyclone shifts to Jharkhand, weakens to low pressure

After leaving a trail of destructions and keeping the state administration on its toes for over a week, the cyclone Phailin has finally left Odisha and shifted to neighbouring Jharkhand as a depression, IMD sources said.

"The Deep Depression over north Chhattisgarh and adjoining areas of Odisha & Jharkhand moved north- northeastwards and weakened into a depression. It lay centred at 0830 hours IST of today, the 14th October 2013 close to southwest of Daltonganj (Jharkhand)," it said. The IMD said that the system would move north-northeastwards and weaken gradually into a well marked low pressure area by today evening.

7.30 pm: Industry body commends efforts of Odisha government, extends full support

Industry body ASSOCHAM today asked its four lakh members across India to extend full support to Odisha for timely rehabilitation of those affected by cyclone Phailin while commending the efforts of the state government in combating the natural calamity.

"The government of Odisha together with the Disaster Management Authority worked very closely and untiringly to evacuate about one million people in three days which in itself is an unprecedented feat," ASSOCHAM President Rana Kapoor said in a statement.

Stating that the state government dealt with the cyclone ably, the ASSOCHAM president said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik closely monitored the execution of massive rescue and relief operations.

It was due to his leadership and farsighted vision, otherwise the situation could have been worst, he said. Assocham also issued an appeal to its four lakh members across India to come forward to extend full support and help to the government of Odisha for timely rehabilitation of those affected.

PTI

7.30 pm: Naveen Patnaik apprises post cyclone situation to PM, seeks support 

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over phone informing him about the twin calamities faced by the state, official sources said.

Patnaik who earlier in the day visited worst hit Ganjam district, apprised the Prime Minister on the post cyclone situation and the state government’s initiatives to bring back normalcy in the affected districts.

While informing the Prime Minister about the massive damage to the power infrastructure in the state, Patnaik requested Singh for technical support of Central Government Power Sector PSUs like NTPC and PGCIL for restoration of power infrastructure.

Districts like Ganjam and Puri have suffered maximum damage of power infrastructure, Patnaik told the Prime Minister during discussion, sources said.

"The technical support of central PSUs is essential for restoration of power in these districts," Patnaik was quoted saying in a statement released by the chief minister's office here.

Districts like Ganjam and Puri have suffered maximum damage of power infrastructure, Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro said.

5.oo pm: Eight-year-old girl, 70-year-old man killed in heavy rains in West Bengal's Purulia 

An eight-year-old girl was killed and her mother injured in heavy trains triggered by weakened Cyclone Phailin in West Bengal's Purulia district bordering Jharkhand.

Purulia District Magistrate Tanmoy Chakraborty said the girl and her mother were injured when their kutcha house at Chakaltore village, about 20 km from here, collapsed in severe storm and heavy rains last night.

A 70-year-old man was killed when his thatched hut collapsed due to heavy rains in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin in Bihar's Madhepura district.  The incident occurred when the deceased, Srilal Yadav, was sleeping last night in his thatched hut at Mathahi village in Madhepura district, which collapsed due to incessant rains and he was trapped under the debris, police said.

4.35 pm: Congress appears to take credit for Cyclone Phailin management

Congress today appeared to claim credit for effective handling of cyclone 'Phailin', saying all steps are being taken under its rule to make the country "disaster-resilient" which was evident from IMD's accurate prediction and "record" evacuation of over one million people
in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Science & Technology Minister S Jaipal Reddy along with Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran addressed a press conference at the AICC headquarters on the achievement of IMD, NDMA and various government agencies in tackling the situation successfully.

"This very severe cyclone we predicted exactly. The track (of cyclone) we predicted exactly. The intensity we predicated exactly. Because of our early predication, huge evacuation took place.... Our nation can congratulate itself," Reddy said.

4.10 pm: An epidemic is possible because of water accumulation, says NDRF

Krishna Chaudhary, the DG of the National Disaster Response Force also said that there is no information so far on any epidemic breakout, but admitted that an epidemic was "possible" since water has accumulated post the disaster.

Chaudhary also said the the rescue was an ongoing process. "If we think there is a need, we will continue working in the region," said Chaudhary.

4.00 pm: Evacuation over, now relief is priority, says Naveen Patnaik

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, speaking during a press conference said that the first priority had been evacuation, which has now been completed. "We are now providing relief including food and medical supplies to people," said Patnaik.

Patnaik also said that roads have been fixed, and that he has requested the Centre for technical help as well as manpower to help with fixing the electricity.

Patnaik has also conducted an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas of Gopalpur, Rangeilunda and Chhatrapur

3.40 pm: After 2 days of disruption, East Coast Railway (ECoR) resumes train services

After remaining disrupted for two days in areas hit by Cyclone Phailin in Odisha, East Coast Railway (ECoR) today fully resumed its train services after clearance of tracks.

ECoR sources said it has now been decided to run most of the trains on normal route in scheduled timings following improvement in situation in cyclone-ravaged areas.

Train services in Howrah-Visakhapatnam section of ECoR were disrupted and cancelled on October 12 and yesterday due to the high velocity cyclone, ECoR sources said adding machinery set up for cyclone management was engaged for restoration of traffic. ECoR had partially resumed some of the train services from yesterday.

2.40 pm: Angry villagers stop Naveen Patnaik's convoy

Villagers today blocked the official convoy of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who was on a visit to coastal areas of cyclone-hit Odisha to oversee relief work.

The incident took place in Agastinuagaon village where close to 50 people blocked the CM's route by putting wooden logs and uprooted trees besides stopping 10 other official vehicles, including that of the DIG of Gangjam range, to prevent them from proceeding further.

However, five vehicles including that of Patnaik managed to come out and proceeded further. The locals were angry as Patnaik's official convoy didn't make a stop at the multi-purpose cyclone (relief) centre in this village.

"I understand their grievances and concerns and we are trying to help them out," Anurag Thakur, DIG Gangjam told PTI.

The victims also claimed that there was no adequate supply of food and water in the relief centres. The CM had earlier visited the Bankapalli relief centre in the same district where he was greeted with angry protests by the inhabitants of the camp who demanded food and water. Patnaik also visited Nalianuagaon before his convoy was disrupted.

The CM is scheduled to visit other relief centres in Gangjam, Behrampur, Gopalpur areas. Later Behrampur MP Sant Mahapatra, who was travelling with the CM, came back at the protest spot to pacify the villagers and protesters. He assured them that all the relief material would reach them soon and the CM would also come to meet them in the next few days.

"The people are angry because the CM didn't stop at this place but I have assured them that he will be back," Mahapatra said. He, however, ruled out that Patnaik would come to the spot today as he was unwell and had a tight schedule. Patnaik later returned to Bhubhaneshwar.

2.26 pm: Scenes of wreckage in Berhampur

Berhampur, the biggest city in southern Odisha, today looked like a war zone as Cyclone Phailin left behind a trail of destruction.

Official sources said two persons were killed after walls collapsed on them in the town.

Scores of trees and electric poles were uprooted disrupting traffic movement in the town while at least three mobile towers were blown away under the impact of the high speed wind.

Walls of various government buildings and private houses collapsed at many places in which two persons were killed in the town while decorated Durga puja pandals were blown aside.

Boundary walls of a juvenile home at Khudashingh and Khallikote Autonomous College had collapsed under the impact of the gale.

The district administration and the police in coordination with NDRF, ODRAF and fire brigade personnel were busy in clearing major roads.

12.50 am: Cylone Phailin causes 'critical' flood situation in Odisha

Heavy downpour triggered by Cyclone Phailin has led to floods in several areas in Odisha, with the state government describing the situation in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts as "critical".

Relief and rescue operations have been launched in the affected areas.

"The situation due to floods caused by cyclone induced rainfall is critical in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts where major rivers like Budhabalanga and Subarnarekha are in spate following a sudden inflow of water," Special Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra said.

Though water level in rivers in Bhadrak also rose menacingly following heavy rains, the situation in the district is now under control, he added.

Describing the situation grim especially in Balasore, the official said water level in Budhabalanga has risen to 9.24 meters against the red mark of 8.13 at Gobindpur near NH-5.

Similarly, Subarnarekha was now flowing at 11.7 meters against the danger level of 10.36 meter at Rajghat near Jaleswar, he said, adding 39 panchayats in four blocks of Balasore were under the grip of flood.

Steps have been taken to air-drop of food packets in flood-hit areas of Balasore where the NDRF had been deployed, while water level in rivers in Mayurbhanj has started receding, Mohapatra said.

It is apprehended that river Budhabalanga might further rise in Balasore in view of heavy rains in the catchment areas, officials said.

Similarly, River Jalaka was flowing at 6.73 meters against its danger level of 5.50 at Basta. Small rivers like Sona, Gangahar, Kansa and Bausa were also in spate in Balasore district, they said. .

11.48 am: Congress says Patnaik failed to handle cyclone Phailin

Despite widespread praise for the Naveen Patnaik government's handling of cyclone Phailin, the state Congress party accused the government of failing to handle the situation.

“While the Centre has done a commendable job by rushing defence personnel and machinery for rescue and relief work in cyclone-hit areas, Odisha government failed to deal with the situation,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Jaydev Jena said.

10.36 am: Death toll rises to 21, floods affect thousands in Odisha

The death toll due to pre and post cyclone Phailin devastations has gone up to 21. One more death was reported late Sunday night, a senior government official told IANS.

"The latest death took place in Balasore, where two people were drowning in flood water, while one was rescued another died," he added.

10. 16 am: Thousands evacuated as heavy rains trigger floods in Odisha 

Heavy rain brought by cyclone Phailin on Sunday triggered floods in Odisha, forcing authorities to evacuate thousands of people after rain water entered their homes, officials said on Monday.

Rescue and relief officials were sent to Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts where the flood water of the Budha Balanga and Baitarani rivers devastated homes, submerged thousands of acres of standing paddy crops, Surya Narayan Patro, Odisha's revenue and disaster management minister, told IANS.

8.38 am: Cyclone Phailin moves inward, flood warning in Bihar

Heavy rainfall and flooding continued in western and nothern Odisha even as the IMD has warned of severe flooding in Bihar.

The MET department has issued a heavy rainfall alert for Bihar, and three NDRF teams have been sent to the state.

Mayurbahnj, Bhadruk, Jajpur and Balasore districts have been affected by floods, CNN-IBN reported.

The flood water of Buddhabalang had entered many low-lying areas of Balasore Sadar and Remuna blocks near here while several places under Baliapal and Bhograi were affected by the water from river Subarnarekha.

Flood water from river Jalaka had entered many villages under Basta block. Roads between Basta and Baliapal and Balasore and Jaleswar were submerged with flood water with over 3 feet water flowing on the roads and the places remained cut off.

Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Orissa Disaster Response Action Force (ODRAF) had arrived in the areas for carrying out rescue operation, they said.

Flood's fury also loomed large over Ganjam, worst hit due to the cyclone 'Phailin' left the district with a trail of devastation.

Rivers Rushikulya and Badanadi had crossed danger level at Aska, 40 km from here, this morning though there is no report of any loss but even as engineers of the state water resources department are keeping a watch on the situation.

"The water level of both the rivers is likely to recede by this evening," said chief engineer-cum-basin manager of Rushikulya, Bansadhara and Nagabali rivers R N Swain.

Now Badanadi was flowing at 36.15 meer at Aska against its danger level 35.42 meter while Rushikulay's level at Aska stood at 34.75 met against it danger level 33.85 meter.

Rushikulay was now flowing at near danger level at Sorada at 81.33 meter against danger level of 81.99 while at Purushottampur it flows at 17.150 meters against the danger level of 16.83 meters.

Similarly, Badanadai was flowing at near danger level at Madhabarida at 60.04 against danger level of 60.65 while Bansadhara at Kasinagar in adjoining Gajapati district is flowing at 54.25 meter against danger level of 54.60 meter.

The Badanadi had caused two breaches at Gujarari and Ratnagiri near Sorisamul barrage. Almost all the reservoirs in the district are now full with Flood Reserve Level (FRL), he said, adding the Bhanganagar reservoir was now discharge 7.77 cubic meter of while Daha reservoir at Bhanjanagar was discharging 21.85 cubic meter of water.

8.15 am: Odisha announces food packages for flood affected families

With over one crore people hit by Cyclone Phailin in Odisha that left a trail of destruction, the state government on Sunday announced food assistance packages for the families living in affected villages.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced food assistance packages of 14 days and 7 days for 'very severely affected' and 'severely affected' villages respectively.

"The families in severely affected villages in need of support will be provided food assistance for 14 days. They will get 50 kilogram of rice and Rs 400 cash each for dal per family," Patnaik said.

7.21 am: Odisha to see better weather, but heavy rains to continue in Bihar, says IMD

After two days of gloom, Odisha will see better weather today with light to moderate rainfall in the region.

The IMD has however warned that Bihar with Kosi and Gandak river flowing over the danger mark, could experience flooding.

Cyclone Phailin struck the coast of Odisha a little after 8.30 pm on Saturday before moving to the interiors.

Updates for 13 October end

7.30 pm: Steps to rebuild damaged infrastructure in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh begin

With the subsiding of Cyclone Phailin, steps to restore snapped communication lines, power transmission and rebuild damaged infrastructure in coastal belt of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh started on Sunday.

Official sources said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is personally monitoring the situation and has directed central agencies to extend "full support" to the state governments in restoring normalcy in the aftermath of the cyclone. Cabinet Secretary Ajith Seth, on Sunday, chaired a meeting of the Crisis Management Group to assess the damage and coordinate rescue and relief efforts.

Officials from the powergrid NTPC and NHPC are helping the state governments in restoring power supply. There has been no damage to high tension wires and power generation units and the damage has been limited to local power distribution network.

In Odisha, 7,500 telephone towers have been damaged while in Andhra Pradesh the figure stood at 205. Sources said most of the telephone towers will be restored in the next 48 hours and various telecom operators are sharing their infrastructure to provide mobile network to the subscribers.

While the Bhubaneshwar airport has been reopened, Railways have pressed into service four special trains to carry stranded people from Bhubaneshawar. Efforts are on to restore the overhead electricity networks of the railways, sources said.

PTI
18.45 pm: Cargo ship feared to have sunk in rough seas caused by Cyclone Phailin

A cargo ship was feared to have sunk in rough seas caused by Cyclone Phailin off the coast of West Bengal, but the crew were spotted in a lifeboat by a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft today.

The Panama registered MV Bingo carrying 8,000 tonne of iron ore was sailing to China after it left the Sagar anchorage on October 11, Kolkata Port Trust Chairman RPS Kahlon told PTI here. The ship had left Haldia port on October 8 and went missing yesterday.

"The crew members have been located 45 nautical miles away by Dornier aircraft of the Coast Guard. They are sending a vessel to bring them back," Kahlon said.

However, till evening they could not trace the ship, he said.

The ship was said to have sailed south instead of east with the captain deciding to proceed to China before it might have tried to come back to port after damage in rough seas, he said.

As per international practice, ships are advised to stay in the open sea instead of the harbour to avoid damage.

PTI

5.15 pm: Major damage to Paradip Port

Paradip Port has suffered extensive losses due to Cyclone Phailin but massive work is on to restore road connectivity as two of the roads have caved in and about 40,000 trees are uprooted, a port official said.

"We are assessing the damages. We don't have access to 10 km long channel as five-six metre high tides are there. A group of 20 engineers have embarked on foot survey of accessible areas," said Paradip Port Trust, Odisha, chairman Sudhanshu Shekhara Mishra.

Mishra said though the storm has subsided but situation was grim there and work was on war-footing to restore road connectivity as two major roads had caved in on Sunday last night.

The port had shut all cargo operations, plants and machinery and put in place a contingency plan to meet any eventuality due to Cyclone Phailin.

"As per preliminary assessments about 40,000 trees were uprooted in the vicinity and operations to clear the area have started. Cooked food has been arranged for about 2,000 people sheltered in port area including employees of the port trust," he said.

Mishra said damage to vessels and corporate houses offices in the area was still to be assessed port buildings and plants have suffered damages.

PTI

4.45 pm: Death toll reaches 15 in Odisha

Eight bodies were today found from Ganjam district, the worst-hit from cylone Phailin in Odisha, taking the death toll in the natural disaster to 15.

Police said two bodies each were found in Berhampur town, Purosottampur, Ganjam town and Rangelilunda areas. Besides, a large number of people have been injured in Ganjam district.

Seven people were killed on Sunday due to heavy rains and high-velocity winds in Odisha before the cyclone made landfall last night, including two at Polasara and Khalikote areas of Ganjam district.

Deaths have also been reported from Khurda(2) and one each from Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Balasore districts.

PTI

4.40 pm: Howrah, Puri rail link restored

With cyclone Phailin losing its intensity, the East Coast Railway today restored train services between Howrah and Puri.

However, services between Khurda Road station and Palsa remain suspended as the restoration work on the track is still continuing, an East Coast Railway spokesperson said.

The services were restored between Howarh and Puri after necessary repair of overhead equipment, checking of signalling system and removal of uprooted trees and debris from the railway tracks.

The railways had on Sunday cancelled all trains between certain sections as a precautionary measure due to the cyclone.

PTI

3.34 pm: We are already working on relief plan, says Patnaik

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who is being praised for his role in ensuring that there was minimal loss of life due to Cyclone Phailin said that the 'very accurate' predictions of the Indian MeT department and the treless work by administrative and NDF had made it possible.

"Well it was really a very very colossal job, 36 hrs to evacuate 9 lakh people thats almost million people, I think that is biggest evacuation ever in our country and I would like to thank first people, the elected representatives, the administration and the media for making people aware", he said.

"I repeat my gratitude to state district administration who have been very affective ..all there leaves for Pooja holidays were cancelled and they really did cooperate in the most selfless way."

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Patnaik said that their objective was to clear all the roads and do necessary repairs by this evening, and restore power to most places by tomorrow evening.  "This will be excepting some very crucial places in Gunjam but we are working on that as well", he said.

The Odisha Chief Minister said that there was a "tremendous sense of relief" that the storm had passed without much cost to human life, and said that they were now taking stock of the damage. He said that almost 2 lakh kaccha houses had been destroyed, and they were working on a rehabilitation plan.

Patnaik added that his state government would send the centre a preliminary report very shortly, listing the damage that has been done and the funds required for rehabilitation, including relief materials.

3.15 pm: Cyclone Phailin not as bad as we thought: locals

After anticipating a ferocious storm and torrential rains, locals were today relieved that cyclone 'Phailin' had not caused the kind of damage to life and property which they feared.

Harish Chandra Patra, who has a refreshments and snacks shop on the beach, said, "We thought nothing would remain this morning and we would have to start our livelihoods again from scratch. But I think the cyclone has not been able to cause much damage to men and material."

Apart from a few uprooted trees and electricity poles, no major damage was immediately reported this morning after winds of up to 220kmph speed buffeted the area along with heavy showers last night.

The damaged electricity poles meant there was no power in the area while communication lines were also affected.

Teams of National Disaster Rescue Force had reached the area to clear access routes and assess the damage following the cyclonic storm.

The Gopalpur seafront is composed of a few shops and some small hotels and resorts standing on the beach itself. "My shop has been badly damaged in the showers and the wind, but I had promised my customers I would serve them food from today itself.

"Hence, I have opened my shop," said Rahul Kant, who runs a south Indian eatery on the beach.

2.50 pm: Iconic Gopalpur lighthouse stands up to Cyclone Phailin

A red-and-white striped lighthouse standing on the popular Gopalpur beach was the lone witness to the fury of the severe cyclone 'Phailin' that virtually drove everyone in this tiny village to desert their homes for the safety of relief shelters.

The lighthouse, which functions under the Union Department of Lighthouses and Lightships, is a crucial navigational guide for numerous ships frequenting the ocean and has dopplers and radar of both the Navy and Coast Guard.

A team of four officials led by Junior Engineer (Civil), GK Pramod, manned the lighthouse the entire night as the world anxiously watched Phailin hit India's east coast. "We kept our headquarters in Kolkata informed about every development in the sea post 5 pm.

"The period between 10.30 pm and 11 pm was the most ferocious as the wind and water battered us," Pramod told PTI.

The lighthouse stands right on Gopalpur beach and houses two families of staff members who work round the clock in different shifts.

The structure of the lighthouse suffered minor damage while some trees on its premises were uprooted. A few sheds were also blown away in the strong winds.

The impact of the cyclone, however, did not deter the staff at the lighthouse from sticking to their posts even though that meant a threat not only to their lives but also for their children and families.

"If we also would have deserted the area, like civilians were asked to, who would have given a challenge to the cyclone. It was our job to keep the authorities posted about the developments," Pramod said.

2.00 pm: Lord Swraj Paul praises rescue operations, to contribute Rs 25 lakh towards relief and rehabilitation

Lord Swraj Paul today praised the Indian authorities for their superb handling of Cyclone Phailin and announced a contribution of Rs 25 lakhs for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people, according to a PTI report.

"The efforts of the state and central authorities, including the defence forces, to limit the casualties was truly amazing. I saw their work with pride and admiration on TV channels," the NRI industrialist said in a statement from his country residence here.

1.00 pm: Will rehabilitate people in shortest time possible, says Naveen Patnaik

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik thanked all the government employees, rescue teams and the media for their effort in helping the Odisha government battle Phailin, one of the worst cyclonic storms in recent years.

He said, "I thank all of you who have helped in the successful evacuation of nearly nine lakh people and reduced loss of human life. This has been one of the largest rescue operations in the country." He thanked all the stakeholders of the rescue operations, especially the gram sarpanchs of the villages and the government employees who had to cancel their festive holidays for the rescue operations.

Though there were minimal casualties reported, property across the coastal areas of Odisha have been destroyed. "Rehabilitation is even a bigger challenge than evacuation and we will see to it that we can do it in the shortest possible time," he added.

12.20 pm: 18 fishermen trapped in trawler off Paradip port return home

Eighteen 18 fishermen, who were trapped in a trawler near Paradip ahead of Cyclone Phailin, have returned safely today, according to a PTI report.

State Revenue and Disaster Minister S N Patro said the men jumped from the trawler and swam to safety at Ersama in Jagatsinghpur district.

The fishermen were trapped around 4 km from Paradip. Though they had contacted the Coast Guard, rescue operations could not be conducted as the sea was extremely rough. Situation in coastal Jagatsinghpur, which bore the brunt of the 1999 super cyclone, is relatively better. Ersama had been among the worst hit blocks in the calamity then.

11:15 am: Worst of Cyclone Phailin is over, says IMD

The worst of cyclone Phailin is completely over for Andhra Pradesh but Odisha is still likely to get battered by 'severe cyclone' till 14.30 hours today, said LS Rathore, DG, Cyclonic Centre, IMD.

He said that the 'severe cyclonic storm' is currently situated 50 km south of Sambalpur (21 degrees north, 81 degrees east) and is moving in a north to north-west direction. The next 12 hours are crucial in terms of wind and wind speeds, he added. Presently wind speed has reduced to 100-110 km/h in Odisha and will last upto 12 hours. Jharkhand and North Chhattisgarh can expect winds of upto 60-70 km/h and thereafter at 50 km/h, he added.

However, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to continue in Odisha. Thereafter the cyclone will become a deep depression and cause rainfall over Chhattisgarh and gangetic West Bengal in another 24 hours. Bihar will also get rainfall over the next 48 hours and IMD has warned that the catchments of river coming to Bihar will get runoff from Kosi, Gandak and rivers of sub-Himalayan West Bengal leading to a flood like situation.

Warnings will be lifted from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha step by step and IMD's focus will now shift to Chhttisgarh and Bihar where Phailin is likely to move next.

The Indian Meteorological Department forecast has been quite correct and all elements of the cyclone - intensity, track, rain storm surge have been predicted accurately, he said. The time and place of landfall has been accurately predicted as well, giving the administration crucial information to evacuate people.

10.50 am: Cargo ship feared sunk off Bengal coast, search on for 20 crew members

A cargo ship, MV Bingo, is believed to have sunk in the rough seas caused by cyclonic storm Phailin with its crew on a lifeboat last sighted east of Sagar in West Bengal, a top Kolkata Port Trust official told PTI.

"The Panama-registered cargo ship MV Bingo is feared sunk as the crew was sighted on a lifeboat yesterday east of Sagar, 25km from the coast," KPT chairman RPS Kahlon told PTI here. A Dornier aircraft and hovercraft belonging to Coast Guard were searching for the ship which sailed with 19 Chinese and one Indonesian crew member on board, he added.

The bulk cargo carrier carrying 8,000 tonnes of iron ore left for China from Sagar anchorage on October 11.

10.30 am: 4200 telecommunication bases in Odisha and 100 in AP affected, to be restored soon

The government has said that 4200 telecommunication bases in Odisha and 100 in Andhra Pradesh have been affected due to cyclone Phailin. The government has begun to restore telecommunication to the affected areas with the help of NDRF teams.

A cabinet secretary told CNN-IBN that power stations have not been affected and distribution will start soon. This is expected to help in with rescue operations as well.

A crisis management committee will sit for a review meeting at 3 pm to ascertain the extent of damage, the Cabinet Secretary added.

9.36 am: Focus now on rescue operations

The preparedness and preventive measures seem to have been extremely effective, say officials. Cyclone Phailin has caused infrastructural damage and uprooted trees and caused flooding. However all indications look as though loss of human life has been minimized.

2300 NDRF members are working on the ground in the worst affected areas.  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to hold a review meeting with district collectors from affected areas via video conferencing to best coordinate rescue and relief operations.

Janak Raj Bhardwaj, ex-member NDMA speaking to CNN-IBN, said that the entire country needed to be proud of the way evacuations and preventive measures were taken. A massive 8 lakh people were evacuated from coastal areas ahead of the cyclone.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vice-chairman M Shashidhar Reddy said as per preliminary reports, the situation in Gopalpur in Odisha's Ganjam district appeared to be encouraging and the wind-speed has come down significantly and the National Disaster Response Force was trying to asses the damage there.

"Wind speed in Gopalpur where the eye of the cyclone passed through has come down to 90-100 kmph at 8 am. We are still trying to assess the devastation caused by the disaster," he told PTI.

According to M Mohapatra, Scientist (Cyclone Warning) with the IMD, the cyclone started showing signs of weakening by 5.30 am on Sunday morning with the wind speed reducing to 160-170 kmph.

"There are reports of trees, electric posts, telephone towers being uprooted and 'kutcha' houses being damaged in Ganjam and Berhampur districts. Communication lines were also disrupted", he said.

9.12 am: Seven dead in Odisha

Odisha MP Jay Panda has said that there are seven confirmed casualties in the state after cyclone Phailin, and added that the number could climb once there was a clearer estimation of damage in affected areas. Relief and rescue operations would begin once the winds died down, he added.

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Panda said that the number of casualties was much lower than what it may have been thanks to the fact that lakhs of people had been moved to cyclone relief centres. He added that severe damage had been reported in Odisha.

"We can be sure that damage is much less, and is connected only to property. Relief will also be seen in full swing shortly", he added.

8.30 am: Three deaths reported from Odisha: reports

Three deaths have been reported from Odisha, according to the NDTV news channel, which is quoting government sources. There have been no casualities reported from Andhra Pradesh yet.

Meanwhile, weather continues to be stormy in parts of both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, despite the worst of the storm being over. Heavy rain is also being reported in interior Odisha as the storm moves north-northwestwards. The MeT has downgraded Phailin, but it is still a 'severe' storm as opposed to being a 'very severe' storm.

"Our teams are out in both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for rescue and relief operations", NDRF chief Krishna Chowdhary was quoted as saying by the PTI news agency.

The NDRF chief said initial reports suggested that due to the impact of the cyclone, buildings and some communication towers were destroyed. Chowdhary said yesterday five persons lost their lives in Odisha due to collapse of a building but the incident took place before the landfall of cyclone.

Earlier IMD director Sarat Sahu had said that there was still no contact with Gopalpur, which was hit by the worst of the storm.

7.50 am: Restoring roads for rescue vehicles first priority, says Odisha DGP

Cyclone Phailin's worst is over, according to the officials of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Speaking to CNN-IBN, Prakash Mishra, Odisha DGP, said, "Gopalpur in Ganjam district has been the worst hit in Odisha. But no casualties have been reported."

He also said, "The first priority would be to clear the roads so that the rescue vehicles can come in. Then we will be restoring the power lines and the water supply."

However, there is still no trace of the 18-member ship that was stranded at a distance from Paradip port. A rescue ship of Indian Oil Corporation had been sent to rescue the ship but they have not found the ship or established communication with the crew on board, said Odisha DGP.

The Met office in Odisha said that the severe cyclone had passed over Odisha and now it would pass in a north to north-west direction over the Indian mainland away from the coast.

7.00 am: Cyclone Phailin leaves train of devastation

The worst of Cyclone Phailin is over, but signs of its passage can be seen thanks to a trail of devastation. In Gopalpur, Odisha where Phailin made landfall, low lying areas are completely inundated thanks to storm surges that caused flooding as much as half a kilometre away from the coast.

The winds of over 200 kmph had also uprooted trees, telephone and electricity poles, and torn off roofs in the area.  The storm is weakening, and focus is now shifting to rescue operations.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to hold a review meeting with all his district collecters in affected areas via video conference. Following the meeting, rescue officials will fan out to the most devastated areas.

There are no new casualties reported so far.

Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh was also hammered by Phailin there were no casualties reported so far.

According to this report in the Times of India:

While nearly 45,000 electricity poles were uprooted in Srikakulam district, east coast railway (ECoR) was forced to regulate more than 40 trains passing through the mainline connecting the cyclone affected areas due to partial damage to tracks. Railway sources said the tracks on the Chennai-Howrah line were partially damaged at Naupada and Sompeta, even as power supply to railway services was cut.

The exact scale of damage will only be known in a few hours.

-- end of updates for 12 October --

10.20 pm: Naveen Patnaik tells officials to remain alert through the night

Even as Cyclone Phailin gusts through Odisha packing wind speeds of around 200 kmph, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked rescue and security personnel to ensure that there is no human movement through the night.

Earlier today, the Indian MeT department confirmed that Phailin had made landfall, and warned of a 'very serious situation' through the night.

Patnaik will hold a review meeting at 10:30 am tomorrow with all district collectors who will be present via video-conferencing, NDTV reported.

Rescue officials will fan out across the affected districts following the meeting, the channel added.

10.00 pm: Wind speeds up to 210 kmph in Gopalpur, Odisha

CNN-IBN reports that wind speeds for Phailin have increased to 210 kmph. The channel also reported that the 18 stranded fishermen have officially gone missing.

Meanwhile Google has come out with a crisis map to help those stranded in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The map lists shelter homes as well as hospitals in the region.

You can access the map here, and find a list of cyclone shelters in Odisha here and Andhra Pradesh here.

9.15 pm: IMD says Phailin has made landfall travelling at 200 kmph

According to the LS Rathore, the Director General of IMD, Cyclone Phailin crossed the coast at 200 kmph. Heavy to very heavy rain is being reported in Andhra and Odisha and the situation will remain for around 6 hours.

He says categorically that it cannot be called a Super Cyclone. That requires speeds of over 220 kmph. He also says it will take an hour for the eye of the cyclone to cross the coast.

 

8.58 pm: Navy launches rescue operation to save 18 stranded sailors

The Navy has launched a search and rescue operation to save 18 sailors stranded off Sagar island after they abandoned ship when their merchant ship tilted, according to Times Now. The sailors are now in a life raft and the Navy says it will take about 16 hours to reach them.

Meanwhile a district collection officer has told CNN-IBN that 30 people are stranded in the district of Srikakulam and rescue will only be possible after the storm passes.

The rain and heavy winds have already uprooted trees in Odisha. Reuters

The rain and heavy winds have already uprooted trees in Odisha. Reuters

8.48 pm: NDRF says Phailin touched down over an hour ago

The NDRF Andhra told Times Now: Cyclone Phailin made landfall on the coast around 7 or 7.30pm. and that the cyclone is already headed across Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today directed that all possible assistance be extended to the states which are on alert for cyclone 'Phailin' after reviewing the situation soon after his return from an overseas tour.

The Prime Minister's Office said Singh was briefed by the Cabinet Secretary immediately upon his return from Indonesia. He was apprised about the arrangements which have been put in place to deal with the crisis. PTI

And here is the history of very severe cyclone in Odisha:

 

8.28 pm: NDMA refutes reports it has been downplaying the storm

Shashidar Reddy from the NMDA has refuted international agency reports that the MeT had downplayed the threat of the cyclone, saying that other countries such as the United States were now categorising the cyclone as a level 6 storm, which is what the MeT had done from the beginning.

He said the system had slowed down slightly, which will delay when it makes landfall.

He also expressed his thanks to the striking Andhra employees that called off their strike ahead of Cyclone Phailin’s landfall.

8.05 pm: SkyMet says Phailin has hit Odisha coast; no word from IMD

According to SkyMet estimates, Cyclone Phailin has already hit the Odisha coast near Gopalpur. However,
IMD has not made an official statement about landfall yet.

7.50 pm: Army, Air force and Navy personnel positioned in Odisha

An army engineering column, comprising signal and medical teams were positioned at Gopalpur. The army would also be meeting some of the medical requirements and supply of relief materials besides helping the local administration in evacuating people. IAF's latest strategic transport aircraft, the C-17
Globe Master, flew in with 60 troops, relief materials, special army vehicles and ambulances from Allahabad.

The IAF started flying in NDRF personnel and heavy relief equipment by IL-76s and AN-32 from various bases across the country.

PTI

7.42 pm: United Nations watching Phailin and ready to help

The United Nations is also monitoring Cyclone Phailin and is ready to help India.

 

And the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology has some tips on what to do and not do during and just after a cyclone:

When the cyclone strikes

- Disconnect all electrical appliances, though using a battery-powered appliance is fine.
- Stay inside and shelter {well clear of windows) in the strongest part of the building and keep evacuation and emergency kits with you.
- If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a
strong table or bench or hold onto a solid fixture, e.g. a water pipe.
- Beware the calm 'eye'. If the wind drops, don't assume the cyclone is over; violent winds
will soon resume from another direction. Wait for the official 'all clear'.
- If driving, stop (handbrake on and in gear) - but well away from the sea and clear of trees,
power lines and streams. Stay in the vehicle.

After the cyclone

- Don't go outside until officially advised it is safe.
- Check for gas leaks. Don't use electric appliances if wet.
- Listen to local radio for official warnings and advice.
- If you have to evacuate, or did so earlier, don't return until advised. Use a recommended route and don't rush.
- Beware of damaged power lines, bridges, buildings, trees, and don't enter floodwaters.
- Heed all warnings and don't go sightseeing. Check/help neighbours instead.
- Don't make unnecessary telephone calls.

7.15 pm: Phailin expected to make landfall in 30 minutes

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the ministry is in touch with the states of Odisha and AP and monitoring events. 18 Air Force helicopters have also been pressed in to service.

He also said some people were reluctant to evacuate and the police have been recruited to get them to move to safer ground.

Andew North, the BBC's South Asia correspondent, is on the ground in the path of the cyclone:

 

7.00 pm: Orissa government destroyed natural coastal protection: environmental activist

In MINT, Biswajit Mohanty, an environmentalist based in Cuttack, says the impact of the storm will be heightened because of poor management by the Orissa government.

The natural barriers that were present on the Odisha coast such as mangroves and huge sand dunes have been mostly destroyed. Illegal shrimp farms have replaced mangroves in most coastal districts such as Puri, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur.

Huge sand dunes more than 80ft in height that could quell tidal surges and tsunamis, and break high-speed winds were common in the early 1970s on the Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur and Puri coasts. These sand dunes were flattened, thanks to beach plantations of casuarina trees after the 1971 cyclone. These soft-wood trees snapped like matchsticks during the 1999 cyclone, yet the mistake was repeated with the forest department spending crores of rupees on such plantations, including the turtle nesting areas on the Devi river and Rushikulya river mouth.

6.40 pm: Cyclone Phailin less than 40 km off Odisha coast

Pahilin is now less than 40 kms away from the cost of Odisha and is expected to make landfall within the next hour near Gopalpur. According to CNN-IBN, waves have reached a height of 3 to 3.5 metres along the coast.

Electricity has been cut off in Andhra Pradesh's Srikakulam district.

CNN-IBN is also reporting that seven people have been killed in Odisha cyclone-related incidents so far.

Meanwhile the Chhattisgarh government has issued an alert to all its departments in view of the cyclone Phailin which is likely to trigger heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in the area between south Bastar and the capital Raipur.

The meteorological department said that state may receive a heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours as clouds have begun to form in the southern part.

South Eastern Central Railway has cancelled some trains between Chhattisgarh and Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and diverted some others as a precautionary measure.

Korba-Visakhapatnam Express, Durg-Puri Express, Durg-Puri passenger were cancelled, while Ahmedabad-Puri train was stopped at Raipur. Lokmanya Tilak Terminal-Bhubneshwar Express was terminated at Bilaspur and Bilaspur-Tirupati Express was terminated at Raipur.

6.02 pm: Cyclone Phailin now 65 km off Odisha coast

Cyclone Phailin is now 65 km off Odisha coast where it is expected to make landfall anytime now.

Wind speed are currently 180-190 kmph in the region and at landfall it's expected to be around 230 kmph.

Union cabinet secretary Anil Goswami has said over 5.25 lakh people have been evacuated from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

5.42 pm:  Google develops crisis map, lists hospitals, shelters

Internet giant Google has come out with a crisis map to help those stranded in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The map lists shelter homes as well as hospitals in the region.

You can access the map here, and find a list of cyclone shelters in Odisha here and Andhra Pradesh here.

5.34 pm: Emergency contact numbers in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha

The NDMA has released district level emergency contact numbers in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone Phailin is currently 80 km off the coast of Odisha and is expected to make a landfall between 6pm and 8pm, IMD officials have said.

Odisha emergency numbers:
Odisha State Emergency Operation Centre No- 0674-2534177, Ganjam- 06811-263978, Puri- 06752-223237, Jagatsinghpur- 06724-220368, Kendrapada- 06727-232803, Bhadrak- 06784-251881, Balasore- 06782-262674, Mayurbhanj- 06792-252759, Jajpur- 06728-222648, Cuttack- 0671-2507842, Khordha- 06755-220002, Nayagarh- 06753-252978, Gajapati- 06815-222943, Dhenkanal- 06762-221376, Keonjhar- 06766-255437

Andhra Pradesh emergency numbers:
Srikakulam - 0894-2240557/ 9652838191, Visakhapatnam- 1800425002, Vizianagaram- 1077/0892-2236947, East Godavari- 0884-2365506, West Godavari- 0881230617, Krishna- 086722525 Toll Free – 1077, Guntur- 08632345103/08632234990, Nellore- 08612331477

5.18 pm: Cyclone Phailin moves closer, death toll goes up to 6

The death toll due to cyclone Phailin has gone up to six, CNN-IBN has reported.

Government authorities have evacuated people living within 5 km from the coast, and have instructed people in the region to stay indoors and not step out of their residences for the next 12 hours at least.

The wind speed as of now is around 130 kmph and is set to touch 230 kmph in a couple of hours.

5.05 pm: NDMA teams prepared for cyclone Phailin, says vice chairman

Sixty teams of the Indian Navy  and twenty medical teams have flown in to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to deal with search and rescue operations,  Vice Chairman of NDMA Shashidhar Reddy has said.

"All concerned departments are taking necessary steps and defence forces are on standby."

Reddy also said that this was the biggest deployment of the NDRF in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, with over 2300 officials on ground.

4.59 pm: Over 1 lakh people evacuated from coastal Andhra, says CM

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has said that people living in coastal Andhra have been evacuated and have been taken to cyclone shelters.

"People in low lying areas have been moved to safer places. Around 1 lakh people have been evacuated so far," he said.

4.18 pm: Cyclone Phailin 90 km away from Odisha coast

Cyclone Phailin is around 90 km away from Gopalpur and is likely to hit the coast between 6 pm to 8 pm this evening, LK Rathore, DG Cyclone Centre said today.

Wind speeds have hit around 150 kmph in Gopalpur presently with the region already experiencing heavy rains.

Wind speeds may hit 235 kmph at the time of landfall, he said, adding that the storm surge will be around 3 - 3.5m.

Moderate rainfall is likely to continue in Odisha for the next week.

The IMD official also cautioned the media saying US agencies have been over estimating the cyclone strength.

 

4.14 pm: Indian railways cancel at least 7 trains

Ahead of cyclone Phailin hitting the east coast, the Indian railways today cancelled at least seven trains which may continue tomorrow as well.

"All trains between Howrah and Visakhapatnam will remain suspended today and are also likely to remain suspended tomorrow," a senior East Coast Railway official said.

The trains which have been cancelled include Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam Intercity Express, Bhubaneswar-Tirupathy S/F Express, Bhubaneswar-Secunderabad Visakha Express, Guntur-Visakhapatnam-Guntur Simhadri Express, Howrah-Bhubaneswar Janshatabdi Express, Howrah-Puri Shatabdi Express and Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express.

3.56 pm: At least 3 dead ahead of Cyclone Phailin's landfall

At least three people have died today after uprooted trees fells on them in Odisha ahead of Cyclone Phailin's landfall at Gopalpur.

While a 35-year-old man of Garama village in Jagatsinghpur district died after a tree fell on him amidst gusty winds, a 42-year-old woman also met the same fate in Bhubaneswar.

A man also succumbed to injuries after a tree fell on him at Khalikote area in Ganjam district, police said, adding the deceased was yet to be identified. - PTI

3:30 pm: All traffic on road to Gopalpur comes to a halt

The panic triggered by impending onslaught of Cyclone 'Phailin' in coastal areas of Odisha has crippled all vehicular movement on National Highway 5 which connects the state capital to Gopalpur, the projected landfall site.

Multi-wheel trucks and other four-wheel vehicles could be seen lined up along the highway as all movement towards the cyclone area has been restricted by the state administration.

'Dhabas', small hotels and other business spots along this vital road have been shut fearing nature's fury.

3:10 pm: Centre evaluates Phailin preparations

With Cyclone 'Phailin' hours away from hitting the coast of Odisha, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth today took stock of the preparedness of various Central agencies assigned to provide relief to those affected and restore normalcy in the aftermath.

Top officials from the ministries of Home, Defence, Petroleum, Telecom, Health, Food, Railways, Drinking Water and Sanitation participated in the meeting, which will now be a daily affair to ensure "proper coordination", official sources said here.

Representatives of the respective state governments were also present in the discussions.

The sources said the preparations to deal with the situation were in "full gear" and the various central ministries have already set up 24x7 control rooms to keep a tab on the evolving scenario.

The Telecom and Petroleum ministries have put in place men and material on ground to deal with shortage of fuel and breakdown of infrastructure after the landfall of the cyclone, which is now 150 km from the coast.

Railways have deployed 12 diesel locomotives to ensure movement of trains in emergency as overhead cables to run electric locomotives could get damaged by high winds.

At least three days supply of diesel, petrol and LPG cylinders have been stocked at retail outlets.

Stock of other essential items, including ration, has also been assured to take care of people in the aftermath, the sources said.

2:30 pm: President Pranab Mukherjee cuts his West Bengal trip short on account on Phailin

Its not just two state governments that have been gearing up to deal with the impending cyclone.

President Pranab Mukherjee has also cut short his West Bengal visit in view of Cyclone Phailin.

The President will leave at 5.00 pm for Panagarh in Burdwan district by car from Kirnahar near Mirati, which is 200 km from Kolkata, official sources said. From Panagarh he will leave for New Delhi by air.

2: 00 pm: NDMA vice chairman says 4 lakh evacuated

At a press conference, Shashidhar Reddy said that they have measures in place to deal with cyclone Phailin and he said Ganjam district was expected to face the brunt of its impact.

"The cyclone is presently around 180 km from Gopalpur," Reddy told reporters.

He said there were 23 teams of the NDMA present in Odisha and 11 NDRF teams in Andhra Pradesh.

There were 1200 rescue officials in Odisha and 600 in Andhra Pradesh, Reddy said.

So far, 4 lakh people have been evacuated from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, the NDMA official said.

"People should abide by evacuation orders, else local government's should use force," Reddy said

Apart from cyclone shelters people were being accommodated in other locations like government offices while they waited for the cyclone to blow over.

"We will decide how long to keep people in shelters based on the conditions on the ground," he said.

Unlike in 1999, there's not expected to be as much flooding and people should be able to return home once it has past, Reddy said, adding that ground realities would finally decide when they could return home.

1:00 pm: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik says relief measures in place

Chief Minister of Odisha in a brief statement said that all steps have been taken and relief measures are in place to deal with the damage caused by cyclone Phailin.

12:30 pm: 18 fishermen stranded near Paradip, can't be rescued

State government officials have confirmed that there are 18 fishermen stranded around 4 km off the Odisha coast after their boat ran out of fuel, reported CNN-IBN.

Unfortunately due to the inclement weather conditions a rescue operation couldn't be launched and they'll have to fend for themselves, the report stated.

For those wondering why a rescue effort can't be mounted, the wind speeds at locations like Gopalpur in Odisha have already hit around 160 km per hour, according to Zee News.

Ships in the Paradip port have also already been cleared in order to prepare for the cyclone once it hits land.

12:20 pm: As Phailin approaches, evacuations to continue

As the state government prepares for the cyclone to hit, it's still trying to get people to safety. Headlines Today's TS Sudhir says they're going to resort to force in some cases if needed.

12:10 pm: What its like if you're in Odisha today

Here are some tweets from ANI that pretty much sum up what the day's like if you're in Odisha:

11:50 am: Over 2.5 lakh evacuated from Odisha coast

The Odisha state government has evacuated 2.5 lakh people from six coastal districts and the operation has been continuing.

Of the 2.5 lakh people, one lakh people alone have been taken to safe place at Gopalpur, official sources said.

The districts likely to experience tidal surge are Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara. The administration of Balasore and Bhadrak are also put on alert, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

"We have shifted one lakh people. They are kept at safe place and provided with all necessary provisions. The administration has to forcibly evacuate some people as they
were reluctant to shift," said Ganjam Collector Krishna Kumar.

Kumar along with Range DIG Amitav Thakur personally went round the fishermen's village and evacuated people. The district administration has targeted evacuation of all the people within 10 km from the coast in Gopalpur area and other parts of Ganjan, Kumar said.

While 55,000 people have been evacuted in Jagatsinghpur district, 45,000 people were evacuated in Puri and 13,000 in Bhadrak, Mohapatra said.

IAF C 17 aircraft lifted 60 tonnes of load including vehicles and boats to Bhubaneshwar. The Army has also dispatched 40-personnel medical unit, 40 -personnel rescue unit and 20 support personnel out of which 10 are officers.

11:30 am: Fishermen in some parts of Odisha refuse to leave homes

The Odisha government may have managed to prevent the fishermen from venturing into the sea before cyclone Phailin hit but it turns out it hasn't been entirely successful in convincing them to leave their homes and move to safer locations.

The Hindu in an article says many fishermen who live in the coastal district of Puri have refused to abandon their homes and say they are more than equipped to deal with the cyclone.

Questioning the ability of the government to accomodate them, many of the fishermen have chosen to stay at home and the article says the government hasn't really made any effort to forcibly evict them, like it did with others.

“We know that the storm would prevail for two to three hours. My family will stay together during the hour of crisis. There is little space in cyclone shelters for us. Moreover, we cannot leave our houses,” M Laxman, one of the fishermen was quoted as telling the daily.

11:15 am: Cyclone isn't the world's strongest, US researchers say it will come close

The IMD has sought to play down panic that the cyclone will be one of the strongest that has ever struck anywhere in the world.

"This isn't the world's strongest storm but is definitely the most powerful to hit the nation this year," IMD officials said.

However, while US officials have lowered their expectations, they maintain that Phailin will be one of the strongest storms ever and can wreak large scale damage.

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at Weather Bell, a private U.S. weather firm, said even in the best-case scenario there will be a storm surge of 20-30 feet (7-9 meters).

A storm surge — the giant wall of water that that a cyclone blasts ashore — is the big killer in these storms, even more than winds.

The storm already has been large and powerful for nearly 36 hours, he said, and those winds have built up tremendous amount of surge, Maue said.

Satellite images showed the cyclone filling nearly the entire Bay of Bengal, an area larger than France.

A storm this large can't peter out that fast," Maue said. "There's nothing to stop it at this point."

U.S. forecasters repeatedly warned the storm would be immense.

"If it's not a record it's really, really close," University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told The Associated Press.

"You really don't get storms stronger than this anywhere in the world ever. This is the top of the barrel," he said.

To compare to killer U.S. storms, McNoldy said Phailin is near the size of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,200 people and caused devastating flooding in New Orleans, but Phailin also has the wind power of 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which had 165 mph (265 kph) winds at landfall in Miami.

11:00 am: IMD says no respite expected from cyclone Phailin

The Indian Meteorological department in its latest update said that the cyclone Phailin is expected to hit this evening and there was no reduction in their estimation of its intensity.

"The cyclone is presently around 200 km southeast of Gopalpur," LK Rathore, a senior IMD official said.

The cyclone has been moving in a northwestern direction. It will continue to move in that direction and is expected to hit the coast as scheduled this evening, he said.

"Gusty winds of 55-65 kmph have been reported from Odisha coast along with heavy rains," he said, adding that the intensity of wind and rainfall will increase as day progresses.

"It will remain a very serious cyclonic storm. 220 to 240 kmph winds will be experienced," Rathore said.

He said that very heavy rainfall would be experienced in some areas of Odisha and the same is likely to take place in Andhra Pradesh.

There will also be strong waves that would range from between 3 to 3.5 metres high when the cyclone hits land.  

Rathore, with a smile. also pointed out that the US Navy has aligned themselves to IMD forecast and had said that the intensity would be on par with what they had said.

"How can anyone understand the climatic conditions of this nation better than us?" he asked.

The cyclone's effects are expected to be felt for around 12 hours after it hits land, he said, adding that it would gradually reduce in intensity after that.

10:15 am: Over 50,000 evacuated in coastal Andhra Pradesh

As many as 52,000 locals were today evacuated and 25,000 people accommodated in cyclone shelters in Srikakulam district in view of cyclcone Phailin which is expected to cross the shore by this evening.

"In addition to the Naval and Coast Guard forces, five teams of National Disaster Relief Force are also ready to swing into action in case of an emergency," a senior official told PTI.

Naval and Coast Guard services have been kept on standby in case of emergency.

BSF and CRPF personnel, who are already assisting the local administration in view of the Seemandhra agitation, have also be called in case of emergency, the official added.

Winds with a speed of 100-160 km per hour are expected to blow in the parts of the East Coast including Orissa by this evening when the cyclone crosses the coast.

Vizianagaram collector Kantilal Dande said 10,000 to 15,000 people living in vulunerable areas are being evacuated and they are monitoring the situation on a minute-to-minute basis.

People living in 25 villages are expected to be affected during the cyclone.

9:10 am: Cyclone intensity hasn't reduced, says Met Department

As Odisha braces for Cyclone Phailin, the meteorological department says there's no relief coming just yet.

SC Sahu from the meteorological department in Bhubaneshwar told CNN-IBN that they had been monitoring Phailin through the night and it hasn't weakened so far.

"It has maintained its intensity," he said.

He said that so far the cyclone was weaker than the one that hit the state in 1999.

"Windspeeds are currently 210 to 220 kmph whereas in 1999 the windspeeds were between 250 to 260 kmph," Sahu said.

The coastal areas of the state will feel the full force of the cyclone tonight.

"The cyclone will hit coastal districts tonight and the impact will be felt in the state till first half of the day tomorrow," he said.

08:30 am: With preparations in place,  Odisha waits for Phailin

Hundreds have been moved out of their homes in coastal Odisha as the state prepares for the cyclone to hit.

CNN-IBN reports that even in Bhubaneshwar there has already been minor damage caused at various locations on account of strong winds.

In coastal areas most people have already been moved out of homes into more secure locations, provisions prepared and disaster rescue teams are in place.

Television visuals showed high waves along the coast and empty homes as the state braced for the storm to hit.

End of updates for 11 October 

10.40pm: Cyclone Phailin now located 400-450 km south-east of Paradip

According to a Times Now report citing MeT department, Cyclone Phailin is now located roughly around 400-450 km south-east of Paradip. Four battalions of the army are now deployed at Visakhapatnam where wind speed is picking up fast.

10.30pm: Odisha to evacuate two lakh people

Bhubaneswar: With cyclone Phailin expected to make landfall in Odisha on Saturday, the state government mounted a massive operation to evacuate two lakh people from six coastal districts tonight. The cyclone is 400 km southeast of Gopalpur in Ganjam district where it is expected to make landfall at 6 pm on Saturday and 400 km south-southeast of Paradip, the latest IMD bulletin said.

Officials said clearing, forwarding, loading and unloading operations have been suspended at Paradip port and seven vessels have been shifted to the sea from the dockyard area. The cyclone is 410 km east south east of Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the IMD said.

The wind speed has reached 45-55 kmph and gusting to 65 kmph already along and off the Odisha coast, it said.

"It will increase in intensity with gale wind speed reaching 210-220 kmph along and off coastal districts of south Odisha at the time of landfall," the IMD said.

PTI

9.17 pm: Sea turns rough 24 hours ahead of Phailin's landfall

With Cyclone Phailin apprehended to hit the land at Gopalpur in less than 24 hours from now, the sea has already turned turbulent forcing the fishing vessels that had ventured into the deep sea to return.

Paradip Marine Fisheries Officer Ranjit Keshari Dash said there were no reports of any fishing vessel stranded in the deep sea.

Four fishermen were rescued during the day after their motorised vessel capsized near Agarnasi, close to Gahirmatha and Bhitarkanika marine sanctuaries, officials said.

These fishermen had ventured into the sea three days ago despite the cyclone warning issued. They were rescued and brought to safety by a vessel dispatched by the marine fisheries department, he added.

Kendrapara district and Paradip in Jagatsinghpur were among the worst affected in the super cyclone of 1999.

8.21 pm: Tourists vacate hotels in Odisha's Puri, Gopalpur

Two important tourist destinations of Gopalpur and Puri in Odisha today saw visitors leaving in droves because of fear of Cyclone Phailin striking tomorrow.

All hotels, particularly those near the sea, at Puri were being vacated with tourists moved to safer places, official sources said.

Similarly in Gopalpur, where the cyclone would make landfall and 15 feet waves were expected, hotels were being vacated, the sources said.

Ganjam collector Krishna Kumar, who personally monitored the evacuation said "We will ensure that no one stays within 10 kilometres of the coast."

Electricity was disconnected in Gopalpur area plunging the town into darkness.

At Puri, a tour operator Jugabrat Kar said keeping the safety of tourists including foreigners, in mind those in 400 hotels, including 200 on the beach, were being moved out.

The tourists were being taken to bus and taxi stands and the railway station and efforts were being made to send them to Bhubaneswar.

A a data-base of volunteers was prepared and several houses in the town identified to accommodate the tourists.

Although some were unwilling to move out, efforts were being made to convince them, a senior officer said.

The administration also started announcements to vacate thatched and mud houses in the vulnerable areas.

An interesting aspect of Puri was that people there were optimistic that like 1999 super cyclone, this time too the pilgrim town would be spared.

The town, also known as 'Sankha Kshetra', was unaffected in 1999 though adjoining areas were battered giving rise to belief of divine intervention.

8.06 pm: Cyclone Phailin likely to cause severe damage, says Met

The Met dept has said that Cyclone Phailin is very, very serious and has potential to cause severe damage. It is currently 450 kms away from the eastern coast of India and will hit the coast at 250 kms per hour

Meanwhile NDMA has said around 60,000 people have been evacuated off the coast of Andhra PRadesh.

7.09 pm: District control room numbers for cyclone Phailin in Odisha

The Odisha state government has set up control rooms to make available information. The helpline number of the Odisha Central Control Room is 0674-2534177, and the district control room numbers are as follows:

Mayurbhanj 06792-252759
Jajpur 06728-222648
Gajapati 06815-222943
Dhenkanal 06762-221376
Khurda 06755-220002
Keonjhar 06766-255437
Cuttack 0671-2507842
Ganjam 06811-263978
Puri 06752-223237
Kendrapara 06727-232803
Jagatsinghpur 06724-220368
Balasore 06782-26267
Bhadrak 06784-251881

6.50 am: Intensity of cyclone won't decrease, says MeT

The intensity of the cyclone will not decrease before it makes landfall in Odisha, according to SS Rathore of the MeT department. He has however said that there is still no need to classify it as a 'supers storm'.

Meanwhile, speaking to CNN-IBN, the NDMA has said that it believes it is well prepared to deal with the situation and has said that it has been working with locals in order to minimize casualties. "We have been conducting a large number of  mock excercises and drills with the people of Odisha", he added.

The NDRF has said that it has 23 teams deployed in 11 districts of Odisha and can also send backup forces at a moments notice.

6.20 pm: Is the Indian MeT department severely underestimating Phailin?

Both the London-based Tropical Storm and the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre forecast winds reaching 315 km per hour (195 mph) on landfall, classifying Phailin as a Category 5 storm - the most powerful .

"Phailin is already worse than what the IMD is forecasting. A recent satellite estimate put Phailin's current intensity on par with 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the United States," said Eric Holthaus, meteorologist for Quartz, a U.S.-based online magazine which covers global economy-related issues.

"Everything I know as a meteorologist tells me this is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane - among the strongest on earth in 2013. That would mean Phailin could be the strongest cyclone ever measured in the Indian Ocean."

Holthaus said he was not familiar with India's level of disaster preparedness but was concerned that any underestimation of the storm's intensity could put lives at risk.

"I feel that IMD's underestimate of the strength and impact of this storm is potentially tragic and could catch many millions of people off guard," he said. "Anything short of a full-scale motivation may leave people stranded in flood waters. The highest possible precautions should be taken immediately."

(Reuters)

6.11 pm: West Bengal also gears up for cyclone Phailin

West Bengal government has dispatched disaster management teams to coastal areas of the state to tackle the aftermath of cyclone Phailin which is set to hit neighbouring Odisha by tomorrow evening.

"We have dispatched several disaster management teams to the coastal areas of West Bengal including Diamond Harbour and Digha," Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan told PTI.

Khan said a helpline is being opened at the state secretariat.

"We have also asked civil defence teams to reach the coastal areas to meet any eventuality," he said.

Cyclone Phailin, with a wind speed of 210-220 kmph, is turning into a super cyclone before making landfall tomorrow evening near Gopalpur in Odisha where the government has galvanised its machinery to deal with the impact and is evacuating people from low-lying and coastal areas.

5.22 pm: 1.2 crore people to be affected, says NDMA Vice Chairman

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has warned that as many as 1.2 crore people will be affected by cyclone Phailin and has appealed to people to take warnings seriously.

Mass scale evacuations are underway in Odisha as well as Andhra, while rescue personnel from all three forces are on standby.

The NDMA has also said that they have to accept that the situation is much worse than initially anticipated. Meanwhile the Prime Minister has pledged all support for relief operations.

5.00 pm: Odisha government targets zero casualties

With IMD warning of storm surges of about 15 feet (3 meters) besides wind speed of about 220 kmph during landfall of cyclone Phailin tomorrow evening, Odisha government today set a target of "zero
casualty" and ordered speedy evacuation of people in its seven coastal districts.

"The Collectors of all seven districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsingpur, Kendrapara, Nayagarh and Khurda have been directed to start evacuation and ensure 100 percent evacuation of people to cyclone and flood shelters and other safe places by today evening," said Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro.

The Collectors of Bhadrak and Balasore districts have also been alerted, the minister said.

As at least 9885 persons were killed in the super cyclone of 1999, the state government was concerned about the safety of the people. "Our first priority is zero casualty," Patro said.

Patro directed the district authorities to ensure that relief teams would be ready with relief material and necessary means of transportation. "Fuel like diesel, kerosene, LPG should be kept reserved in the district and block locations," Patro said.

Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra said the government has also directed opening of free kitchens from this evening for the people who would be evacuated to safe shelters. "Dry food should be kept reserved for the next day," Mohapatra said, adding that the teams for clearing of roads must be kept ready with all required equipment.

"They (road clearing team) must be visible on roads just after the cyclone passes away and they should clear the roads within 12 hours of cyclone," Mohapatra said in his directive.

NHAI authorities have also been mobilized for clearing of National Highways, officials said, adding that police forces have also been been asked to strengthen patrolling on highways to ensure smooth passage of vehicles carrying relief materials.

4.32 pm: All fishing activities suspended as cyclone Phailin bears down

The Indian Met department has suspended all fishing activities as cyclone Phailin is expected to make landfall in Odisha in less than 12 hours, packing speeds of upto 220 kmph.

The department has also asked for the regulation of rail and road traffic.

Emergency forces are on standby and mass evacuations are already underway along the coastal belts of all 14 coastal districts.

4.13 pm: Met department confirms strength of cyclone Phailin

The Met department has confirmed that cyclone Phailin will have wind speeds between 220 and 240 kmph and that it would make landfall by tomorrow evening.

Addressing the media, MeT department official SS Rathore said that there would be widespread heavy rainfall. "After the cyclone crossing the coast on the evening it will weaken but will cause heavy rainfall in interior parts of eastern India - North Chhattisgarh and south Jharkhand where heavy rainfall is also expected.

Meanwhile you can track the path of the cyclone on this map:

3.41 pm: 28 NDRF teams deployed in Odisha, Andhra

Surjeet Singh Guleria, DIG of NDRF, has said 28 teams have been deployed in the area and they will be playing a major role in rescue operations.

"Twenty teams have already been deployed here and eight teams are at the airport. They will be deployed in highly vulnerable areas," he said, adding that they will also play a role in evacuating the area.

3.32 pm: Fearing fuel shortage, people queue up at petrol pumps

People have queued up at petrol pumps before the cyclone hits, to stock up on fuel. CNN-IBN reports that there are 1 km long queues at petrol stations fearing a shortage of fuel.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has gone ahead and issued a warning against any kind of hoarding of basic commodities.

3.05 pm: Cyclone Phailin as large as hurricane Katrina?

Cyclone Phailin could be equivalent to hurricane Katrina in size, a report in The Washington Post has said.

“Based on satellite estimates, maximum sustained winds are now easily around 160 mph (140 knots),” Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at WeatherBell.com, told The Washington Post, adding that the wind speeds would make it the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane.

2.51 pm: Gear up to face cyclone Phailin, Antony tells armed forces Defence Minister AK Antony today asked the armed forces to be ready to move in to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in view of the impending severe cyclonic storm Phailin. Two IAF IL-76 aircraft have already airlifted NDRF teams and equipment to Bhubaneshwar. IAF assets have been kept on stand by at various bases including Raipur, Nagpur, Jagdalpur, Barrackpore, Ranchi and Gwalior. It has also kept two C130J aircraft, 18 helicopters, 2 AN-32s aircraft on a standby to move at a short notice besides asking its Eastern Air Command to coordinate relief operation with the task force positioned at Barrackpore. 2.21 pm: Phailin a category 4 cyclonic storm, says London organisation While the Indian Met department has not yet categorised Phailin as a super cyclone, it has been categorised as a category 4 cyclonic storm on a scale of 1 to 5 by London-based storm tracking service Tropical Storm Risk. In 1999 a Category 5 storm killed at least 10,000 people in the region. Heavy rains will lash the coast of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh this evening, and will move to the internal parts of the state by Saturday evening. 1.27 pm: Don't panic, emergency services in place, says Patnaik Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested people not to panic saying required emergency services are in place. "I'd request everyone to not panic.. Please assist the government. Everyone from the block to the state HQ have been put on alert. The Navy and the Air Force have been informed and they will help with relief operations," Patnaik said. 1.10 pm: Evacuation process begins in Andhra, Odisha At least 64,000 people residing in the north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh will be moved to cyclone shelters by this evening, Andhra Pradesh government officials have told Headlines Today. According to journalist TS Sudhir, Andhra Pradesh has over 1,000 cyclone shelters of which 850 are functional, while Odisha has 750.


12.39 pm: Heavy rainfall to hit Odisha, Andhra coast by evening

Rainfall in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha will increase from tonight with strong winds of 200-220 kmph. The rains will extend to the internal areas of Odisha by Saturday night.

Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh wil be the most affected areas.

Director of Cyclone Centre M Mahapatra also said that the cyclone has not yet been classified as a super cyclone but it was severe in nature.

12.11 pm: Cyclone could damage crops, disrupt power lines, warns Met Dept

In a bulletin issued this morning, the IMD has said the cyclone could cause damage to houses as well public infrastructure.

The report said there could be some damage to old buildings, while large scale disruption of power and communication lines. Disruption of rail and road traffic due to extensive flooding as well as flooding of escape routes could take place. It also warned of extensive damage to agricultural crops.

11.21 am: Odisha, AP on high alert as cyclone Phailin intensifies into a super storm

Cyclone Phailin has intensified into a super storm with wind speeds likely to hit over 215 km/hr.

The Met Department today issued an alert stating that the storm surge with a height of around 2.5-3.0 m above astronomical tide would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh during landfall.

Andhra government employees, who are currently on strike, have announced that they would take part in rescue and relief measures for the cyclonic storm.

Read the IMD update below:

Cyclone Warning for North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Coast

10.53 am: Will forcefully evacuate people if necessary, says Odisha govt

The Odisha government is bracing up for super cyclone Phailin with the armed forces being put on standy. Special Relief Commissioner PK Mahapatra has said the government will do its best to ensure there is zero human casualty.

"Our first concern is zero human casualties.. no one will be allowed to stay in any kachha house.. anyone who stays back will be forcefully evacuated," Mahapatra said.

In Andhra Pradesh, Disaster Management Commissioner T Radha has said the government is geared up to face the cyclone. "We have been stocking essential commodities in advance.. once the cyclone crosses we expect 20 villages to be cut off.. so we are making necessary arrangements," he said.

Andhra Pradesh has set up a round-the-clock control room in the Secretariat. The control room numbers are: 040-23456005/23451043 and Fax- 040-23451819.

Odisha: 0674-2534177.

District control room number: Mayurbhanj 06792-252759, Jajpur 06728-222648, Gajapati 06815-222943, Dhenkanal 06762-221376, Khurda 06755-220002, Keonjhar 06766-255437 and Cuttak 0671-2507842, Ganjam 06811-263978, Puri 06752-223237, Kendrapara 06727-232803, Jagatsinghpur 06724-220368, Balasore 06782-262674, Bhadrak 06784-251881.

10.46 am: Andhra puts 6 districts on high alert, defence forces on standby

Andhra Pradesh Disaster Management Commissioner T Radha has said that six districts in the state have been put on high alert. "The CM held a meeting with the Army and Navy, they are on standby incase of an emergency," he said.

10.42 am: Odisha cancels Durga puja festivities as 'super cyclone' Phailin intensifies

All Durga puja activities in Odisha have been cancelled as the state prepares for 'Super cyclone' which could be the worst since 1999 when 10,000 people died.

The Air Force, Navy and national disaster management team are already on stand-by while the rapid action force has deployed its forces on the ground.

People in the low lying areas of the state will be evacuated by tomorrow evening. At least a lakh food packets have already been prepared for air dropping if need be.

The cyclone is moving northwest at a speed of 175-188 km/h and is likely to hit Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur in Odisha. The Met Department has also issued a warning that the speed could touch 215 km/hr by Saturday evening.

10. 31 am: Met department suspends fishing as cyclone Phailin intensifies

The Met office in Hyderabad has recommended the total suspension of fishing operations, and has asked for judicious regulation of rail and road traffic from today, when the cyclone would be at a distance of 500 km from the coast.

10.25 am: Shift people from low-lying areas if necessary, Andhra CM tells authorities

In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy held a review meeting with senior officials directing them to take all precautionary measures in coastal districts.

Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy and Chief Secretary P K Mohanty attended the meeting. People from low-lying areas were instructed to be shifted as and when necessary to safer places, an official release had said.

10.07 am: Odisha seeks support from defence forces as cyclone Phailin intensifies

Odisha government has urged the Centre to issue standing instructions to the defence forces to extend help as cyclone Phailin may hit the state on Saturday.

“Our past experience indicates that despite preparedness by the state government, a severe cyclonic storm requires support of the defence forces to mitigate the effect of extreme weather,” Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote in a letter to Defence Minister AK Antony.

Twenty three districts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are likely to be hit by cyclone Phailin within the next 24 hours  as authorities brace themselves for what the met department defines as  'most severe' cyclonic storm. Phailin is expected to cross the coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip by Saturday evening.

Reuters

Reuters

In Andhra Pradesh, north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam are likely to experience very heavy rain from this evening while other coastal districts would also receive heavy rainfall.

Andhra Pradesh has set up a round-the-clock control Room in the Secretariat.

Telephone numbers: 040-23456005/23451043 and Fax- 040-23451819.