Cyclone Phailin weakens, casualty averted
Hours after Cyclone Phailin made a landfall at Gopalpur in Odisha coast on Saturday evening, the storm has weakened and moved to the central part of Odisha on Sunday after it ripped through the two coastal states- the other being Andhra Pradesh- though the latter has not reported any human casualty.
However, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said there could be flood like situation in Bihar owing to heavy rainfall in next 48 hours in the state. Jharkhand will also receive heavy rain.
The landfall of the severe cyclone occurred at around 9 pm at 200 kmph at Gopalpur in Odisha where several deaths occurred from falling trees but no casualty was reported yet following the landfall.
The storm triggered one of the biggest evacuations in India as about 8 lakh people were moved to safety in the two states.
"There seems to be a zero loss of life," said L S Rathore, Director General, Indian Meteorological Department addressing media in the morning. He said as targetted zero casualty could be achieved and media also helped a lot with their accurate reporting all along.
He said the forecast of the track and intensity of the cyclone and its landfall was absolutely correct and that helped in coping with the calamity. He said zero loss of life meant the lives which could have been saved from precautions and which could be saved thus.
The IMD bulletin on Sunday morning said: "The very severe cyclonic storm, PHAILIN over Odisha moved northwards during past 3 hours with a speed of 20 kmph and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST of 13thth October 2013 over Odisha near latitude 20.50 0 N and longitude 84.50 0 E, close to Phulbani. The system would move northwards for some more time and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm by noon of today and into a deep depression by evening of today."
Strong winds and heavy rains were reported from both the coastal states owing to the cyclone.
Rathore said now the wind speed is 100 to 110 kmph and he predicted heavy rainfall in several states in next 48 hours.
"Odisha will witness heavy rainfall in next 24 hours. Chhattisgarh for next 24 hours, Jharkhand for next 36 hours, West Bengal for next 24 hours and Bihar for next 48 hours will get heavy to very heavy rainfall," Rathore said, giving all clear to Andhra Pradesh.
"There is a possibility of flood in Bihar," he said, adding that river Koshi and Gandak could cause them from rains in the Himalayan
Earlier, seven deaths were reported from falling trees in Odisha before the landfall though no casualty has been reported from Andhra Pradesh so far.
Extensive damage to property and crops has been reported from both the states.
Coastal Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, which is also hit, is without power while in Odisha, Gopalpur under Ganjam district has no electricity since last night.
Meanwhile, 18 stranded fishermen were rescued from Odisha's Paradip area.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Vice Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy told media: "The cyclone that made landfall yesterday evening has gradually weakened and it has moved to the central part of Odisha....On the whole, we are quite satisfied with the evacuation work that was done. In Gopalpur, where the cyclone made landfall, almost 90 to 95 percent people have been evacuated."
Rathore on Saturday said the cyclone cannot be classified as a super cyclone yet but its wind speed was 210 to 220 kmph.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh immediately on return from his tour abroad, reviewed the situation arising out of the cyclone.
The Odisha government earlier said it has set a "zero casualty target" and was seeking "100 percent" evacuation of people in areas likely to be hit by the storm.
Several cyclone centres and more than 100 shelter homes were set up in the districts likely to be most affected by Phailin.
About 1600 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel are deployed to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
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 Nos.
âEuro¢ Srikakulam - 0894-2240557/ 9652838191 / Visakhapatnam- 1800425002 / Vizianagaram- Toll Free: 1077/0892-2236947 / East Godavari- 0884-2365506
West Godavari- 0881230617 / Krishna- 086722525 Toll Free - 1077 / Guntur- 08632345103/08632234990 / Nellore- 08612331477
(Posted on 13-10-2013)