Phailin claims 25 lives, Bihar on alert
The death toll from Cyclone Phailin mounted to 25 so far with Bihar and parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh being put on weather alert, reports said on Monday.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the cyclone is now closer to Chhattisgarh-Odisha border which might trigger heavy rainfall over north Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim in the next 48 hours.
Even as the authorities claimed that 21 people died so far due to the cyclone, media reports said that four more people were killed in floods in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts that were caused by the storm system moving into interior Odisha after crossing the coastal districts.
As Phailin passed through Odisha, nearly half of Baripada town was submerged due to a rise in water levels in the river. Several villages were also inundated as river Baitarani rose past the danger mark.
India averted a major calamity on Sunday as Cyclone Phailin, said to be the biggest storm to hit the country in more than a decade, weakened considerably but not before claiming several lives and causing widespread destruction.
The cyclonic storm changed its course and weakened in intensity after hitting the coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and moved north towards Jharkhand.
Odisha special relief commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra earlier said electricity and water supplies will be restored in most areas by Sunday evening, except in the worst-hit Ganjam district.
Besides Ganjam that bore the brunt of the storm, more than 5 lakh hectares of farmland were damaged, 9 lakh trees were uprooted across seven coastal districts, the state government said.
In Andhra Pradesh, road stretches on national highways measuring 18 kilometres and 400-km of electrical lines were damaged while several thousand acres of agricultural fields suffered damages, an initial assessment showed.
Major loss of life was averted as around 8.73 lakh people were evacuated from 99 blocks spread over 12 districts in the two states, in biggest such operation in decades.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said rehabilitation of the displaced people would be a challenge.
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(Posted on 15-10-2013)