Amaravati: The cyclonic storm ‘Titli’ left eight people dead and one in Odisha, besides causing widespread damage in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh and Odisha’s Gajapati and Ganjam districts on Friday, the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said.
The cyclone threw normal life out of gear as heavy to very heavy rains started lashing the two districts since late Wednesday night. According to the Indian Meteorological department (IMD), the cyclone landed in the coastal town of Gopalpur in Odisha sometime between 4:30 and 5:30 AM today with a wind speed of 150 kmph.
The cyclonic storm system is now moving northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and will weaken gradually, the IMD said.
Over three lakh people were evacuated from various coastal districts in Odisha, B. Sethi, Special Relief Commissioner (Odisha) told ANI.
A 62-year-old woman died at Gudivada Agraharam village after an uprooted tree fell on her, a 55-year-old man died in a house collapse at Rotanasa village in Srikakulam district, the SDMA said.
— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2018
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) informed that six fishermen, who had put out to sea, were killed.
Of the 67 fishing boats that had ventured into the sea over the last few days from Kakinada in East Godavari district, 65 had returned to the shore safely, the CMO said.
Efforts were on to bring back the remaining two boats safely, it added in a release.
The IMD categorised the cyclone as “very severe” earlier today.
The road network suffered extensive damage in Srikakulam district, while the power distribution network was also vastly affected.
More than 2,000 electric poles were uprooted by strong winds.
The Eastern Power Distribution Company that caters to the electricity needs of the north coastal districts reported that the power distribution system for 4,319 villages and six towns was affected in Srikakulam district.
Traffic on the Chennai-Kolkata National Highway was also hit at places like Tekkali due to uprooted trees.
The telecommunication network in the district has also been hit.
The South Central Railway as well as the East Coast Railway cancelled several trains while some were terminated midway.
Train services between Khurda Road in Odisha and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh also remained suspended since 10 pm Wednesday.
A few express trains were diverted via other regions.
Horticulture crops suffered extensive damage in Srikakulam district while paddy suffered damage in Vizianagaram.
Coconut plantations, banana and mango trees were the worst hit in the “very severe” cyclonic storm, according to a preliminary report prepared by the SDMA.
The Palasa, Vajrapukottur, Nandigam areas recorded 28.02 cm of rainfall followed by Kotabommali (24.82 cm), Santabommali (24.42 cm), Itchapuram (23.76 cm) and Tekkali (23.46 cm).
The other mandals in Srikakulam district recorded rainfall ranging from 2 cm to 13.26 cm, the CMO said.In Odisha, the cyclonic storm led to very heavy rainfall mainly in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts and caused minor damage to power supply and communication.
An eight-year-old boy drowned in a canal in the Hinjili area of Ganjam district, where five people were reported missing after being swept away in the flood waters.
Ganjam Collector Kulange Vijay Amruta said the five people, including two women and two children, were swept away by flood water while returning home from a cyclone shelter in Sorada.
As the cyclone triggered heavy downpour after crossing the Odisha coast, fear of flood gripped many areas as the major rivers in the state’s southern region are rising menacingly, prompting the state government to launch a fresh evacuation.
In all, eight districts — Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore — were affected, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.
Officials said southern Odisha districts like Gajapati, Ganjam and Rayagada were pounded by incessant rains since Wednesday, leading the water levels of Bansadhara and Rushikulya rivers to rise.
While vast areas were inundated in south Odisha districts, reports of flash flood poured in from various parts, they said.
The state government on Wednesday evacuated over three lakh people to safe places. The evacuees were housed in 1,112 shelters.
Altogether, 105 pregnant women in Ganjam district and 18 in Jagatsinghpur have been shifted to hospitals, Sethi said.
Gajapati district was the worst affected in Odisha. It received 228.4 mm rainfall triggering flood scare, the SRC said.
Water Resources Secretary P K Jena said with the Bansadhara and Rusikulya rivers rising, the Odisha government is taking measures to avoid a flood.
The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall at some places in Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Rayagada, Koraput, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Boudh, Bolangir, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Bhadrak, Balasore districts till Friday.
Power supply and telephone links got disrupted, and road communication snapped due to uprooted trees at many places in Gajapati district, Sethi said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the situation and instructed officials to expedite restoration efforts once the situation improves.
“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 the National Disaster Response Force and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force were deployed in affected areas along with fire brigade personnel.
According to East Coast Railway CPRO, J P Mishra, some railway station buildings were damaged at a few places, including in Palasa. Signal poles and overhead electric masts were damaged at places between Palasa and Kottabomali stations.
(With PTI inputs)