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Cyclone Titli Kills 13 in Odisha and Bengal, Weakens Into Deep Depression

The depression over Odisha moved east northeastwards on Saturday with a speed of 23 km and centered at 2:30 am over North Odisha and adjoining West Bengal about 70km north of Digha, the meteorological department said.


Updated:October 13, 2018, 10:45 AM IST
Cyclone Titli Kills 13 in Odisha and Bengal, Weakens Into Deep Depression
A person is seen along the coastline as Cyclone Titli hits the city, starting with surface wind effect reaching speeds of 126 kmph at Gopalpur, in Ganjam, Thursday, Oct 11, 2018. (PTI Photo)
Kolkata/Bhubaneswar: Cyclone Titli weakened into a deep depression and entered West Bengal on Friday, triggering incessant rainfall even as it claimed 13 lives — 12 in Odisha and one in Bengal.

According to media reports, the 12 killed were tribals in Odisha's Gajapati district. A report quoted local officials as saying that 22 tribals, including three children, of Rayagada block's Baraghara village had taken shelter in a cave after gale force wind blew away the roofs of their huts.

But the hillock caved in due to incessant rain and the resultant rockslide swept away 16 of the villagers. Rayagada block chairman Dhaleswar Bhuyan said 12 bodies were recovered late Friday night while four are still missing.

The depression over Odisha moved east northeastwards on Saturday with a speed of 23 km and centered at 2:30 am over North Odisha and adjoining West Bengal about 70km north of Digha, the meteorological department said.

The cyclone and the accompanying heavy rain have wrought damage in Bengal's Jhargram and Paschim Medinipur districts adjoining Odisha. It left one person dead in Paschim Medinipur district and uprooted trees along state highway number 5, holding up traffic, authorities in the two districts said. Paschim Medinipur and Jhargram are witnessing incessant rain since Thursday night.

The MeT department warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall in Gangetic West Bengal till Saturday, ahead of Durga Puja festivities. It said the cyclone has weakened into a deep depression and moved northeast.

Paschim Medinipur district Magistrate P Mohan Gandhi said a 35-year-old security guard was killed when a 12-foot factory wall collapsed on him at Kharagpur following heavy rains on Friday. Ten others were injured in various rain-related incidents.

In neighbouring Jhargram district, the storm caused mud houses and Durga Puja pandals to collapse in Rohinibazar, Sankrail and Jhargram block areas.

The weatherman said the deep depression is likely to cause heavy to very heavy rain in North and South 24 Parganas, Purba and Paschim Medinipur, Jhargram, Purba Bardhaman, Howrah and Hooghly districts.

Heavy rain is likely in Kolkata, Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Malda, Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur districts till Saturday, the Met department said. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along and off the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha, deep sea areas of North and Central Bay of Bengal till Saturday.

Tourists at Digha and other adjacent sea-side resorts have been advised not to get into any sea-bound activities till Saturday as squall with speed of 45 to 55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph will prevail along and off the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha.

In Odisha, the toll in the natural calamity rose to three after two bodies were recovered in Ganjam district, near where it made its landfall, as the state government deployed NDRF and ODRAF personnel to speed up rescue and relief operations. One of the two bodies was that of a 40-year-old fisherman from Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh, police said. The other body is that of a 45-year-old man of Bhuta Pankal village under Sorada block in Ganjam district.

On Thursday, the body of an eight-year old boy, who had slipped into a canal at Saradhapur village under Hinjili police station, was found by locals, police said. In Andhra Pradesh, eight lives were snuffed out by the storm on Thursday. The Odisha government is, however, yet to confirm the deaths.

"We have seen media reports of the deaths of two or three persons in districts. We are verifying it," Chief Secretary A P Padhi told scribes on the human casualty due to Cyclone Titli.

The state deployed NDRF and ODRAF personnel Friday to speed up rescue and relief operation mainly in the southern districts of Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada where more than 60 lakh people were affected by flood due to heavy rainfall triggered by the cyclone.

The flood situation in three districts, which received the highest rainfall for three days under the impact of Cyclone Titli, is grim as the water levels in major rivers like Rushikulya and Bansadhara have crossed their danger marks, official sources said.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said people in Balasore district were also affected by the flood. The decision to step up relief and rescue operation was taken at a high-level meeting where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took stock of the situation.

In a video conference with the district collectors of Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada, Patnaik gave instructions for intensifying rescue and relief operation on a war footing as people faced the twin calamities of cyclone and floods.

Patnaik stressed on quick repair of breaches in several river embankments and directed district collectors to provide cooked food to people evacuated from their homes. He constituted a three-member ministerial committee to visit the three worst-affected districts to monitor rescue and relief operation.

Two helicopters were requisitioned from the Indian Navy mainly for rescue and air dropping of relief materials in Ganjam district as its villages are cut off due to the submergence of roads with rain and flood waters, Padhi said. Low-lying areas in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and the pilgrim town of Puri were also waterlogged due to rains.

The swollen Mahendratanaya river submerged vast stretches of Gajapati district cutting off road communication between Andhra Pradesh and Paralakhemundi in Odisha's Gajapati district, official sources said.

Train services were affected by the cyclone and floods and at least 16 trains were cancelled and several others rescheduled by East Coast Railway (ECoR) on Friday due to submergence of railway tracks, an ECoR official said.

Director of Bhubaneswar meteorological centre, H R Biswas said heavy to very heavy rainfall will continue to pound parts of the state, including Balasore, Bhadrak and Dhenkanal districts, till Saturday.

(With inputs from PTI)
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