With extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani likely to cross the coastal areas of Odisha on Friday, the South Eastern Railway has cancelled 43 trains scheduled to run between Howrah and Puri, and other destinations in south India over the next two days. According to a forecast by the MeT office, heavy-to-very heavy rainfall may occur in the coastal districts of Odisha and West Bengal on Friday.
Cyclone Fani, which has turned into an "extreme severe cyclonic" storm, is about 450 km from the Odisha coast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in an early morning tweet.
It said that the cyclonic storm is moving northwards with a speed of 5 km per hour in past six hours and is likely to make landfall at Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali anytime after Friday afternoon, with wind speed of up to 200 km per hour.
In view of the impending landfall of Cyclone Fani, the weatherman has issued an 'Orange message' alert for Odisha, West Bengal and Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh coasts. A total of nineteen districts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal are expected to get hit by the cyclone, with the Met Department issuing a special bulletin on Wednesday warning about possible destruction in the areas.
Here are the LIVE updates:
223 trains cancelled along Orissa coastline of Kolkata-Chennai route till May 4 in view of cyclone Fani: Railways
No flight will depart or arrive at Kolkata airport between 9.30 pm of May 3 and 6 pm of May 4 due to cyclone Fani: DGCA
Landfall which was expected to be at 5:30 pm tomorrow, is now expected between 12 pm-2 pm. All colleges & soft business establishments will be closed tomorrow: Sangram Mohapatra, Spokesperson, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority.
All GoAir flights in and out from Bhubaneswar Airport (BBI) stands cancelled for 03 May 2019.
All airlines are requested to offer all assistance for rescue & relief operations in view of Cyclonic Storm FANI. All relief material should be airlifted to be delivered to officially designated agencies. Control room being set up: Suresh Prabhu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to review preparedness for Cyclone Fani. The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary to the PM, the Additional Principal Secretary to the PM, the Home Secretary, and other senior officials from the IMD, NDRF, NDMA and PMO, etc. The Prime Minister was briefed on the likely path of the cyclone, and the ongoing precautionary and preparatory measures being undertaken.
ONGC evacuates nearly 500 employees before cyclone Fani makes landfall
India’s biggest oil and gas producer ONGC has evacuated close to 500 of its employees from offshore installations in the Bay of Bengal and moved drilling rigs to safer locations ahead of an impending cyclone that is expected to make landfall on Friday. Sources privy to the development said while operations at Paradip port in Odisha and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh have been shut and ships have been ordered to move out to sea to avoid damage, the refineries are operating but with all precautions in place.
Tourists have been asked to leave Puri by Thursday evening, while Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar will remain closed from May 2 to 4.
Over one lakh dry food packets have been kept ready for air dropping in the areas to be affected by Fani, the most severe cyclonic storm since the super cyclone of 1999 that claimed close to 10,000 lives and devastated large parts of Odisha.
Emphasising that every life is precious, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who reviewed the preparedness on Wednesday evening, said there was a need to give special attention to pregnant women, children, elderly people and differently-abled persons.
According to the SRC, the evacuation of eight lakh people is the largest-ever evacuation operation in the country.
Arrangements have been made to start free kitchens to provide cooked food to the evacuees, the Special Relief Commissioner said.
At least 14 Odisha districts - Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Balasore, Bhadrak, Ganjam, Khurda, Jajpur, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Gajapati, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar - are likely to bear the brunt of the cyclone, which is also likely to impact Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Airport Authority of India has issued an alert to all coastal airports to ensured that all precautions and SOPs are put in place immediately, reports ANI.
A massive operation was launched in Odisha on Thursday to evacuate over eight lakh people from low-lying coastal areas as the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani moved closer to the eastern coast.
HR Biswas, Director, Met Dept, Bhubaneswar: Today mostly south coastal Odisha & adjoining interior Odisha will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall. Tomorrow all 11 coastal districts along with & adjoining interior districts will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall.
Andhra Pradesh: National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team arrives in Ichchapuram, Srikakulam in view of Cyclone Fani.
Odisha government has planned to evacuate around 8 lakh people from seaside villages and low lying areas to safer places by Thursday evening, the Times of India reported.
Odisha Fire Services in the city has kept 50 teams of six members each on alert in the city, news agency ANI reported.
Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm FANI about 450 km south-southwest of Puri at 0530 hrs IST of 02nd May, 2019. To cross Odisha coast around Puri by afternoon of 3rd May, the IMD tweeted on Thursday.
Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm FANI about 450 km south-southwest of Puri at 0530 hrs IST of 02nd May, 2019. To cross Odisha coast around Puri by afternoon of 3rd May. https://t.co/wRl94BRtm1 pic.twitter.com/nzGmV2Jr6O— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) May 2, 2019
In a statement on Thursday, the Defence Ministry said, "It is monitoring the developing situation in East Coast of India for Cyclone Fani and authorises the proactive deployment of resources from Indian Navy and Coast Guard for succour and assistance to those in need with minimum reaction time. Coast Guard has deployed 20 teams."
The weatherman has also issued warning to fishermen not to venture into deep sea areas of Southwest adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal, Southwest and adjoining the westcentral Bay of Bengal, along and off Puducherry, north Tamilnadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts on May 2.
As over 100 trains were cancelled in Odisha owing to Fani Cyclone, the Indian Railways have reportedly arrainged for a special passenger train from Puri to Shalimar in Kolkata, which will commence operation at Thursday noon. The train will start from Puri in Odisha and make stops in Khurda, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jajapur, Kendujhar, Bhadarak, Baleswar and Kharagpur en route Shalimar. The special train is expected to reach Bhubaneswar at around 1:30 pm.