Cyclone Titli, which made landfall in Andhra Pradesh early Thursday morning, caused the death of eight people — two in Srikakulam district and six fishermen, who had ventured into sea. An eight-year-old boy died after drowning in a canal in Odisha, where the storm made landfall at 5.30 am.
The 'very severe cyclonic storm' uprooted trees and electric poles and damaged hutments in Odisha's Ganjam and Gajapati districts, officials said. The cyclone also triggered heavy rainfall in at least three districts and caused minor damage to power and communication.
An boy drowned in a canal in the Hinjili area of Ganjam district, where five people were reported missing after being swept away in the flood waters.
Ganjam collector Kulange Vijay Amruta said the five people, including two women and two children, were swept away by flood water while returning home from a cyclone shelter in Sorada.
Prior to the incident, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) BP Sethi had said there were no major damage or report of casualty from any part of the state.
Power supply and telephone links got disrupted and road communication snapped due to uporoted trees at many places of Gajapati district which was reportedly the worst-hit in the state.
Efforts were on to clear roads blocked by uprooted trees and restore power supply in affected areas at the earliest, he said. In all, eight districts — Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore — have been affected by "very severe cyclone Titli", he said.
Road communication between Paralakhemundi and Mohana and some other block headquarters in Gajapati were disrupted under the impact of the cyclone, he said.
The Odisha government had made efforts to avoid human casualties by evacuating at least 3 lakh people from low-lying areas in the five coastal districts before the cyclone made a landfall. They were accommodated in 1,112 cyclone shelters. Altogether, 105 pregnant women in Ganjam district and 18 in Jagatsinghpur were shifted to hospitals, the SRC said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the situation and instructed officials to expedite restoration efforts once the situation improves."The chief minister gave instruction to send two more teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to Gajapati where extensive damage has been caused to roads, hutments, electric and telephone poles," Chief Secretary AP Padhi said.
Thirteen teams of the NDRF and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force were deployed in affected areas along with fire brigade personnel.
According to East Coast Railway spokesperson JP Mishra, some railway station buildings were damaged at a few places, including in Palasa. Signal poles and overhead electric masts were damaged at places between Palasa and Kottabomali stations.
In Andhra Pradesh, scores of trees and power poles were uprooted as heavy rains lashed Srikakulam district under the influence of the storm, the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said. Rainfall ranging from 2 cm to 26 cm was recorded in several mandals of the district even as road communication network was vastly affected. The State Road Transport Corporation suspended its bus services as uprooted trees caused roadblocks at several places.
Transport Minister K Atchannaidu, who hails from Srikakulam, visited the affected mandals and is monitoring the situation. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu conducted a teleconference with district authorities and instructed them to remain on high alert. "Every hour from now on is very crucial. The focus should be on relief measures and restoration of the communication network. Care should be taken to prevent the spread of communicable diseases," Naidu said.
NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed in Srikakulam and neighbouring Vizianagaram districts to take up rescue and relief operations. The SDMA has set up a toll-free telephone no. 18004250101 at its Emergency Operations Centre to assist people in distress while control rooms have been opened in the three north coastal districts.
Cyclone Titli likely to weaken into a deep depression by Friday
The latest India Meteorological Department (IMD) report said cyclone Titli made the landfall between 4.30 and 5.30 am in the southwest coast of Gopalpur near Palasa in Andhra Pradesh with an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph. The landfall process has been completed and "the centre of eye of cyclone Titli lies over the land", the IMD said.
Director of Meteorological (MeT) Centre Bhubaneswar HR Biswas said the "very severe cyclonic storm" (VSCS) is being monitored by the coastal Doppler Weather Radars at Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur and Paradip.
The system is now moving northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and it will weaken gradually, it said. It is likely to weaken gradually becoming severe cyclonic storm around noon, cyclonic storm around evening and a deep depression by the morning of 12 October, IMD has predicted.
An East Coast Railway (ECoR) official said train services remained suspended between Khurda Road and Vizianagaram from both directions since 10 pm on Wednesday. He said the Palasa station in Andhra Pradesh was damaged and railway officials will reach there shortly. However, the train traffic is likely to resume regular operations after 6 pm on Thursday.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Oct 11, 2018 23:28:00 IST