Cyclone Phailin hits Odisha coast: How the day progressed
The windspeed is over 200 kmph and is expected to increase slightly even as the cyclone has already caused a lot of damage reportedly.
Srikakulam, Brahmapur, Bhubaneshwar:
11:30 pm: Congress President Sonia Gandhi is in constant touch with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and taking stock of the situation in cyclone-hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. She says the government and Congress will do everything possible to stand up to emergent situation.
10:45 pm: Cyclone Phailin has resulted in severe rainfall across the coastal districts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The cyclone which made landfall around 9:15 pm near Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha is advancing. The severe rain has plunged the entire southern coast of Odisha and northern coast of Andhra into darkness. The supply of electricity has been cut to prevent fire accidents and electrocution of human beings and animals.
Since the communication lines are down, nobody has been able to find out what has happened immediately after the landfall.
10:30 pm: Karma Paljor from Brahmapur in Odisha says there is no way they can find out what is happening. The wind speed is over 200 km per hour. Gopalpur is just 15 km away, but they have been unable to contact anybody.
Jajati Karan from Bhubaneshwar says the cyclone has caused a lot of damage but the real picture will emerge only in the morning. Eighteen fishermen stranded at Paradip have been missing as the coast guard has not been able to rescue them. The rescue and relief work can start only after tomorrow afternoon. The government has so far made good arrangements. It is likely to minimize the loss to life and property. Over 1 lakh food packets are ready to be airdropped.
Preeti Singh from Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh says there has been a severe rain and trees have fallen all over. Life has come to a standstill. The assessment of the damage can start only tomorrow. The relief centres are well stocked.
Cyclone Phailin hits India's East coast near Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha on Saturday night. At over 200 km per hour Phailin is the worst cyclone in the last 14 years. There has been no reports of damage or casualty so far.
Briefing media about the landfall of the cyclone Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) Director General LS Rathore warned that the east coast will receive the most severe rain in the next 12 hours.
CNN-IBN, Senior Editor Karma Paljor, who is in Brahmapur in Odisha says the wind speed is very high. He adds that there is no electricity and no landline phone is working. Most of Ganjam district and Srikakulam district in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh have already plunged into darkness.
CNN-IBN Bhubaneshwar correspondent Jajati Karan has reported that the state capital has been without power and the wind is blowing at a very high speed indicating a severe rainfall later in the night.
CNN-IBN Correspondent Preeti Singh, who is reporting from an evacuation shelter near Kalingapatnam says that tens of thousands are spending an anxious night at different relief centres spread over Andhra Pradesh coast.
According to the Met department reports, the heavy rain is likely to cause a lot of trouble across the coast of two states.
The cyclone has brought a vast quantity of rain, which is likely to batter Odisha and Andhra coast. Seven people have died in the cyclone related incident in Odisha.
The districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kurda have been affected by the cyclone.
The Met department has downgraded it to category 4. It says it is as serious as hurricane Katrina, which battered the USA. The severe rainfall is likely to cause a huge damage to roads, railways, telephone lines and standing crop in the affected area. The storm surge is also expected to be above 3.5 meters across the coast.
According to a Disaster management expert RK Datta, the cyclone is expected to cause a huge damage to flora and fauna close to the coast.
Since the Met department warned of the cyclone Phailin well in advance, the state governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh guided and assisted by the Centre have evacuated more than one million people from the coast preventing a massive loss of life.
A journalist from Odisha has tweeted saying 'shrieking winds battering away at the windowpanes. Eerie sounds. Speed is really scary'.
The Union government is keeping a close watch on the cyclone. Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde himself is monitoring the operations. He is being assisted by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and NDRF.
The Railways has suspended trains in the affected area. The Coromandel national highway which connects Kanyakumari to Kolkata has also been shut between Vizianagaram and Ganjam.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also in constant touch with the PMO officials. He is getting minute - minute updates on the situation.
The Chief Ministers of Odisha and AP are also closely monitoring the relief and rescue work.
Following are the helpline numbers:
District control room number:
Andhra Pradesh: 040-23456005/23451043 Fax-040-23451819
Google crisis map: Cyclone Phailin