Cyclone 'Titli' crosses Odisha coast, no loss of life

Cyclone 'Titli' crosses Odisha coast, no loss of life

Surface wind reached speeds of 126 kmph at Gopalpur. ANI photo

Cyclone Titli, which made its landfall early Thursday, uprooted trees and electric poles and damaged hutments in Odisha's Ganjam and Gajapati districts but no loss of life was reported from any part of the state, officials said.

The very severe cyclone Titli made its landfall near Palasa in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, southwest of Gopalpur town in Odisha, between 4.30 and 5 am.

In all, eight districts — Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore — have been affected by "very severe cyclone Titli", Special Relief Commissioner B P Sethi said.

The cyclone triggered heavy to very heavy rainfall in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts of Odisha, causing minor damage to power and communication.

"There has been no major destruction or report of casualty from any part of the state so far. Some damages like uprooting of trees and electric poles and damage to hutments were reported from Ganjam and Gajapati districts," he said.

Power supply and telephone links got disrupted and road communication snapped due to uprooted trees at many places in Gajapati district, Sethi said.

Efforts are now on to clear roads blocked by uprooted trees and to restore power supply in affected areas, he said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has instructed officials to expedite restoration efforts once the situation improves.

He asked officials to provide relief materials to cyclone-affected people.

"The chief minister gave instruction to send two more teams of NDRF to Gajapati where extensive damage has been caused to roads, hutments, electric and telephone poles," Chief Secretary A P Padhi said.

Thirteen teams of National Disaster Response Force and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force have been deployed in affected areas along with fire brigade personnel.

"The damage is less than what we had feared," the chief secretary said.

He said communication to all block headquarters in Gajapati district was hit as roads were blocked by uprooted trees and broken branches.

Padhi said the state government moved over three lakh people Wednesday to safe places which helped avoid loss of life in the natural calamity. The evacuees are housed in 1,112 shelters where food and sanitation facilities are available.

Altogether, 105 pregnant women in Ganjam district and 18 in Jagatsinghpur have been shifted to hospitals, Sethi said.

Train services between Khurda Road in Odisha and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh remained suspended since 10 pm Wednesday, East Coast Railway sources said.

"We are optimistic about restoration of train services on the route by (this) evening," said East Coast Railway Chief PRO, J P Mishra.

Damage was caused to railway station buildings at a few places, including Palasa, while signal poles and overhead electric masts were damaged at some places between Palasa and Kottabomali stations, he said adding that steps were being taken to clear the railway tracks.

In Ganjam, reports of damage to hutments and other structures and uprooting of trees were received from some areas, the special relief commissioner said.

According to a report by the India Meteorological Department, Cyclone Titli made the landfall near Palasa with an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph.

The landfall process was complete and "the centre of eye of cyclone Titli lies over the land," the IMD said.

The system is now moving northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and will weaken gradually, it said.

An hour after the landfall, Gopalpur in Odisha reported surface wind at 126 kmph, Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh recorded a wind speed of 56 kmph.

Director of Meteorological Centre Bhubaneswar H R Biswas said the "very severe cyclonic storm" is being monitored by the coastal Doppler Weather Radars at Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur and Paradip.

Odisha's water resources secretary P K Jena said the flood situation is not alarming anywhere in the state.

Water level of the Rusikulya and Bansadhara rivers are being monitored, he said.

Balasore received very heavy rainfall of 117 mm and Paradip recorded 111 mm of rainfall, he said