Cyclone Fani hits Odisha, wind speed at 200 km

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International desk, May 03: Cyclone Fani, the most severe storm since the super cyclone of 1999 that killed 10,000 people in Odisha, has started making its impact felt in the Indian state, the weather office said.The impact of the landfall is likely to continue till noon and after that, the cyclone is expected to move north-westwards and gradually weaken as it reaches West Bengal by early tomorrow morning, ndtv reports.

The Odisha government has evacuated over a million people from the coastal areas to camps on higher grounds. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and disaster management agencies are on stand-by.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, reviewed preparedness for Cyclone Fani with his senior-most officials.The home ministry has set up a control room and anyone who needs assistance or updates on Cyclone Fani can call on the helpline number 1938.

Odisha government moved over a million people to safety and advised the public to remain indoor today.

All flights from Bhubaneswar have been cancelled from midnight, Kolkata airport will be shut between 9.30 pm on Friday to till 6 pm on Saturday.

The districts which are in the path of the Cyclone Fani are Puri, Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Naygarh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore, Mr Padhi said. Three more districts of Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar may also be badly impacted.

Gopalpur, Puri, Bhubaneswar, Paradip, Chandbali, Balasore, Kalingapatnam saw strong winds and received heavy rain overnight. Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh also received heavy rain.

Relief commissioners and District Collectors are leading the operations on the ground. Trucks are ready with relief material in Bhubaneswar. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is closely monitoring the situation.

The East Coast Railway has cancelled over 147 trains till tomorrow. Three special trains were run from Puri to Howrah and Shalimar in West Bengal yesterday to facilitate the evacuation of tourists.

Cyclone Fani will also impact Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. In West Bengal, it will affect East and West Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram districts and state capital Kolkata. In Andhra Pradesh, three districts of Srikakulam, Vijayanagram and Visakhapatnam are likely to be affected.

The electricity department in coastal Andhra Pradesh has asked people to stay alert to avoid accidents. 12,000 poles, 50 cranes, 40 pole drilling machines, 40 generators, 70 power saws, 2,000 transformers and other equipment were sent to the areas that could be affected.

The name ”Fani”, which is pronounced as “Foni”, was suggested by Bangladesh. Roughly translated, “Fani” means the hood of a snake, according to reports.