Bhubaneswar: Cyclone Titli uprooted trees and electric poles and damaged hutments in Odisha’s Ganjam and Gajapati districts after making landfall early Thursday morning, but no loss of lives was reported from any part of the state, officials said. Also Read - Cyclonic Storm ‘Gaja’ to Intensify Further in Next 24 Hours, Predicts IMD
The cyclone also triggered heavy rainfall in at least three districts and caused minor damage to power and communication. Also Read - Titli Cyclone: Odisha, Andhra Pradesh Seek Centre's Help as Death Toll Rises to 61, Naidu Says Dist Pushed Back by 20 Years
“There has been no major damage or report of casualty received from any part of the state so far. Some destruction was reported from Ganjam and Gajapati districts,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said. Also Read - Titli Cyclone: Odisha Death Toll Rises to 26, Oppn Claims Number Bigger; Govt Claims Most People Have Left Relief Centres For Home
Power supply and telephone links got disrupted and road communication snapped due to uprooted trees at many places of Gajapati district, the SRC said.
Efforts are on to clear roads blocked by uprooted trees and restore power supply in affected areas at the earliest, he said.
In all, eight districts – Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore – have been affected by “very severe cyclone Titli”, he said.
Cyclone ‘Titli’ triggered heavy to very heavy rainfall in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts of Odisha, while damage of hutments and asbestos-roofed houses, street lights, road blockade due to uprooted trees were reported from Ganjam.
Road communication between Paralakhemundi and Mohana and some other block headquarters in Gajapati had been disrupted under the impact of the cyclone, he said.
In Ganjam, reports of damage to hutments and other structures and uprooting of trees were received from some areas, he said.
The latest India Meteorological Department (IMD) report said cyclone ‘Titli made the landfall between 4.30 and 5.30 am in south-west coast of Gopalpur near Palasa in Andhra Pradesh with an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph.
The landfall process has been completed 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 it will weaken gradually, it said.
The state government, which has been on its toes, geared up its machinery to face the calamity and evacuated over 3 lakh people living in low-lying areas in the five coastal districts.
In a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Chief Secretary A P Padhi informed that the state has taken precautions to deal with the situation.
Of the 15 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 13 have been deployed along with the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) at vulnerable places.
Apart from making all arrangement for rescue and relief operations, the chief minister also ordered closure of all schools, colleges and anganwadi centres on Thursday and Friday in view of the IMD’s forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall across the state.
In wake of the cyclone and subsequent rainfall, several trains and flights from Bhubaneswar have been cancelled.
An East Coast Railway (ECoR) official said train services will remain suspended between Khurda Road and Vizianagram from both directions after 10 pm Wednesday till further notice. In view of the very severe cyclonic storm, IndiGo Airline has cancelled five flights to and from Bhubaneswar.
Also, operations at Paradip port have been suspended and all ships have been shifted to deep sea.
The IMD advised total suspension of fishing operations and shifting of coastal hutment dwellers to safe places. Fishermen along the Odisha coast, and central and north Bay of Bengal were advised not to venture into sea till Friday.
In view of rough sea conditions, the IMD has also advised hoisting of great danger signal GD-10 at Gopalpur and Puri and GD-9 at Paradip and Chandbali ports in Odisha.
While several areas in coastal Odisha were lashed by rain Wednesday, the IMD has forecast “heavy to very heavy rainfall” at several places and “extremely heavy rainfall” at isolated areas till Thursday under the impact of the ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm which has been gaining strength.
Districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall till Thursday, the IMD said.