Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 175 kmph, cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ slammed into the Odisha coast on Friday morning. It uprooted trees and sweeped away thatched huts, as large areas of the seaside pilgrim town of Puri were left submerged.
Three people were reported dead in separate incidents as cyclone Fani battered the Odisha coast.
A teenager was killed when a tree came crashing down on him at a place within Sakhigopal police station area limits in Puri district, according to PTI.
Flying debris from a concrete structure hit a woman in Nayagarh district when she had gone to fetch water, killing her.
In Debendranarayanpur village in Kendrapara district, a 65-year-old woman died after suspected heart attack at a cyclone shelter, PTI quoted officials as saying.
The eye of cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ has “completely moved into land” by 10 am Friday weakening its fury, but heavy rainfall is still predicted in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and parts of the northeastern states, the Home Ministry said Friday.
Cyclone to reach West Bengal tomorrow
According to India Metrological Department (IMD), the cyclone is very likely to reach Gangetic West Bengal as a severe cyclonic storm by Saturday morning. It is likely to move north-northeastwards and emerge into Bangladesh by Saturday evening as a cyclonic storm.
A red alert has been issued in coastal areas of West Bengal and fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea.
The state government has taken precautionary measures for districts like East and West Midnapore, both North and South 24 Parganas besides, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram and Kolkata and Sundarbans to avert any untoward incident.
Several trains from the city have been cancelled while the city airport has decided to remain shut from 3 pm Friday till 8 am Saturday.
Kolkata Police has opened a control room at its headquarters to monitor the situation in the city.
All government and government-aided schools have suspended classes from Friday and the Health Department has cancelled leave of doctors and the staff till 6 May.
Bangladesh has also evacuated over five lakh people from its southwestern districts as ‘Fani’ is drawing closer.
Political rallies cancelled
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled her public rallies scheduled for Friday and advised people not to pay heed to rumours and stay indoors as Cyclone Fani heads towards the state.
BJP president Amit Shah’s three election rallies in Jharkhand on Friday were also cancelled due to Fani.
The election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chaibasa on 5 May has been deferred by a day due to impending impact of Fani. The PM’s rally at Chaibasa in West Singhbhum district will now be held on 6 May, said BJP’s Jharkhand unit spokesman Rajesh Kumar Shukla.
Damage to AIIMS Bhubaneswar
There was extensive damage reported at AIIMS Bhubaneswar after Fani landfall.
The Union Health Ministry also announced cancellation of Bhubaneswar as a centre for the AIIMS PG 2019 examination due to the cyclone.
(With PTI inputs)