Cyclone 'Fani' rolled through Odisha on Friday, packing rain and windstorm that gusted up to 175 kmph, leaving at least three people dead, blowing away thatched houses, and swamping towns and villages.
The extremely severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' or the 'Hood of Snake' made landfall around 8 am in Puri, with roaring winds flattening huts, enveloping the pilgrim town in sheets of rain, and submerging homes in residential areas.
Special Relief Commissioner B P Sethi said three people were reported dead in different incidents in Puri, Nayagarh and Kendrapara districts.
While a teenage boy was killed when a tree collapsed on him in Puri, flying debris from a concrete structure left a woman dead in Nayagarh. An elderly woman died of heart attack at a relief shelter in Kendrapara district.
The eye of cyclonic storm 'Fani' has "completely moved into land" by 10 am Friday weakening its fury, but heavy rainfall is still predicted in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and parts of the northeastern states, the Home Ministry said Friday.
According to the National Emergency Response Centre, under the home ministry, power and telecommunication lines in Puri district of Odisha are completely down and restoration work is on.
Rescuers belonging to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Navy, Coast Guard, Army and Air Force have been deployed in a mass operations, closely monitored by the central government.
"The landfall process started Friday 8 am close to Puri and the eye of the system has completely moved into land by 10 am. The 'extremely severe' cyclonic storm 'Fani' weakened into 'very severe' cyclonic storm and lay centred at 11:30 am about 10 km to east of Bhubaneswar and 30 km to the south of Cuttack," a home ministry statement said.
Moderate rainfall is expected at most places, heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places over coastal Odisha and adjoining districts of interior parts of the state on Friday.
Most places in Odisha is likely to receive light to moderate rains on Saturday with heavy to very heavy rainfall occurring at isolated places in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts.
In Andhra Pradesh, light to moderate rainfall is likely at most places with heavy to very heavy rains at isolated places over Srikakulam district on Friday. Also light to moderate rainfall is likely in West Bengal on Friday, with heavy to very heavy showers at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places.
Light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places and heavy rains at isolated places over sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on Saturday.
Cyclone 'Fani' is being monitored by the home ministry at the highest level round the clock. The ministry is in constant touch with the state chief secretaries and relief commissioners and central agencies concerned, the statement said.
Helpline number 1938 has been activated in the home ministry control room. The NDRF has deployed 60 teams each comprising 45 personnel while 25 teams are kept on standby.
The Indian Navy has deployed six ships on the eastern seaboard for relief operations and five ships, six aircraft and seven helicopters have been kept on standby for rescue and relief operations in Visakhapatnam.
The Indian Air Force has deployed two C-17 aircraft while two C-130 and four AN-32 planes have been kept on standby for relief tasks. The Indian Coast Guard has deployed six ships and six more ships are kept on standby.
The Indian Army has kept three columns on standby at Gopalpur, two columns and two Engineering Task Force (ETFs) at Ranchi and four columns and four ETFs at Panagarh.