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Cyclone Fani hits Indian coast, 8 killed in Odisha

NEW DELHI, May 3, 2019

Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, made landfall near Puri, India, on Friday morning, lashing the coast with winds gusting at more than 120 miles per hour, said media reports. 
 
Odisha was put on high alert with several teams of the Indian Army, Navy, Coast Guard, National Disaster Rapid Force (NDRF), and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on standby for rescue and relief operations. The cyclone is said to be the worst to hit India since 2014.
 
Eight people were killed in Odisha due to the cyclone. According to the government, nearly 160 people were reported injured, with extensive damage to kuchha houses, old buildings and temporary shops, news agency ANI reported. 
 
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, it stated.
 
The severe cyclonic storm Fani over coastal Odisha and adjoining northwest bay moved north-northeastwards and has weakened further before reaching Bangladesh.
 
It now lies over Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining area at last reported around 9pm, according to the latest special weather bulletin from Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
 
By Friday night, the full impact of the storm was still being assessed according to local officials. India’s Coast Guard said on Twitter that emergency workers had started providing aid within the first hour of the storm making landfall, reported The New York Times.
 
Tens of millions of people are potentially in the cyclone’s path. India and Bangladesh evacuated more than 1 million people each from coastal areas. Large sections of coastal India and Bangladesh are threatened by storm surges, and heavy rains could cause rivers to breach.
 
The fast-moving storm struck the coast as the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. Several hours after it made landfall, the cyclone was downgraded to a “very severe” storm from an “extremely severe” storm.
 
Some relief efforts were hampered by extensive damage. Many large trees were uprooted and toppled onto roads in Puri district, according to a government spokesman, but road restoration work had already begun by Friday night, stated the report.
 
Phone lines, internet and electricity were all down in the city, but the government vowed to have services running again soon. At least 160 people were injured by the storm, it added.
 
The military conducted aerial surveys Friday evening to assess the damage, and at least four ships with aid supplies were stationed in affected areas, the navy said on Twitter.



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