Cyclone Titli wreaks havoc across Odisha; train services disrupted (Photo Source: PTI)
As Cyclone Titli intensified into a ‘very severe’ storm over the Bay of Bengal, the Odisha government on Friday accelerated the evacuation process of over 60 lakh people affected in three coastal districts of the state. A large number of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel have been deployed to speed up the rescue and relief operation in Odisha's worst-hit Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts. The life-threatening cyclone has claimed eight lives in Andhra Pradesh and one in Odisha so far.
In the wake of this heavy downpour triggered by Cyclone Titli, around three lakh people in the low-lying areas and hutments have been shifted to safer places, according to officials. The flood situation in three south Odisha districts is grim owing to instantaneous rainfall for the last three days. Normal lives were thrown out of gear following a landfall at Palasa near Gopalpur in Ganjam on Thursday morning.
The decision to speed up the operation was taken in a high-level meeting after Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik took stock of the rain battered state. He also stressed on quick repair of bridges, which were damaged due to increasing water levels in major rivers like Rushikulya and Bansadhara.
Odisha: 14 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) & 26 teams of Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) deployed across 16 districts of the state. #TitliCyclone pic.twitter.com/6z7Toub0Vq— ANI (@ANI) October 12, 2018
Furthermore, two helicopters were requisitioned from the Indian Navy mainly for rescue and air dropping of relief materials in villages located in 125 gram panchayats in Ganjam district. These areas are cut off from the rest of the state due to the submergence of roads with rain and flood water, according to reports.
Indian Navy joins relief operations in severe #TitliCyclone affected areas. Naval helicopters carrying diving team, Gemini&OBM launched today for air-dropping food packets & relief material in the most affected areas by #TitliCyclone across Andhra Pradesh & Odisha: Indian Navy pic.twitter.com/EdTwZrc5CC— ANI (@ANI) October 12, 2018
Train services were also disrupted and at least 16 trains were cancelled and several others diverted by East Coast Railway (ECoR) due to submergence of railway tracks. To facilitate the stranded passengers going southwards, a Super Fast Tatkal Special Train will be run from Bhubaneswar, Odisha to Bangalore Cantonment, Karnataka on 15 Oct at 07:15 pm.
Due to #TitliCyclone , many trains have been cancelled & diverted. To facilitate the stranded passengers going southwards, a Super Fast Tatkal Special Train will be run from Bhubaneswar, Odisha to Bangalore Cantonment, Karnataka on 15 Oct at 0750 hrs: East Coast Railways— ANI (@ANI) October 12, 2018
The water level on railway tracks in Berhampur-Palasa section is yet to recede due to continuous rains, an ECoR official said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a fresh warning on Friday, predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall in the Gangetic West Bengal till Saturday. The storm-system which has weakened into a deep depression is moving towards the north-eastern states.
Heavy rainfall is likely in Kolkata, Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Malda, North and South Dinajpur districts till Saturday. North and South 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Jhargram, East Burdwan, Howrah and Hooghly are likely to be affected the most, the weatherman said.
In view of a rough sea condition, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along the coasts West Bengal and Odisha, deep sea areas of North and Central Bay of Bengal till Saturday. Tourists at Digha and adjacent sea-side resorts have been advised not to get into any sea-bound activities till Saturday.
Squall with speed of 45 to 55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph is expected to prevail along and off the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha, the MeT department added.