Cyclone Fani, a severe cyclonic storm, made landfall impact on Friday, May 3, 2019 around 8.00 a.m. south of Puri on the Odisha coast. The entire process is expected to happen over the next two hours. The Odisha government on Thursday evacuated over 11 lakh people from low-lying areas in 15 districts.
Cyclone Fani continued to wreak havoc on Friday morning, after making landfall in Odisha, with capital Bhubaneswar bearing the brunt of it.
The storm showed no sign of receding, leaving denizens in a state of panic.
Hundreds of trees were uprooted, even as fire service personnel and members of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force struggled to make a move due to the heavy rain and winds.
Low-lying areas flooded, and roadside kioks were found upside down. A crane installed at the premises of a high-rise building that was under construction near the Raghanathpur area collapsed. The failure of telecom services also added to the chaos.
Residents caught up in Cyclone Fani have been making their way to emergency relief camps.
The storm struck near the city of Puri, in Odisha state, as the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane and packing sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour).
Over the next six hours, the storm is expected to weaken as it moves north-northeast toward Kolkata, one of India's most populous cities, and Bangladesh.
“People living in the northeastern parts of the country -- hundreds of thousands of families are facing a cyclonic storm. The central government is in constant touch with the governments in Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry," he told an election rally in Rajasthan.
Tens of millions of people are potentially in the cyclone’s path, and more than a million were evacuated this week from coastal areas. Large sections of coastal India and Bangladesh are threatened by storm surges, and heavy rains could cause rivers to breach.
Schools have been closed, fishermen asked to keep off the water and tourists urged to leave the city of Puri, a Hindu pilgrimage site where an elaborate, centuries-old temple could be at risk of severe damage. Airports in the cyclone’s path were closing and hundreds of trains have been canceled.
Along Odisha’s coast, more than 850 storm shelters have been opened, said Bishnupada Sethi, the state’s special relief commissioner. Each can hold about 1,000 people, along with livestock.
Nearly 11 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable and low-lying areas of at least 11 coastal districts while the evacuees have been accommodated in over 4,000 shelters, including 880 specially designed cyclone centres.