Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday urged Congress workers in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal to help people in need as they brace for the effect of "extremely severe" cyclonic storm - Fani. "As #CycloneFani approaches, I urge Congress workers in Odisha, Andhra & West Bengal to warn people in their surrounding areas of the approaching danger & to help those in need. Stay safe. This danger will soon pass. You are in my thoughts & prayers tonight (sic)," the Congress chief tweeted.
Classified by meteorologists as severe as a category four hurricane, Cyclone Fani made a terrifying landfall at Odisha’s Puri on Thursday. Fani is the most severe cyclonic storm over the east coast in nearly two decades. After its landfall at east coast, extremely heavy rainfall and strong winds up to the speed of 245 kmph lashed the coastal districts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
According to weather office, winds in Puri, where the cyclone made its landfall were blowing at a maximum speed of 240-245 km per hour. An estimated 10,000 villages and 52 towns in Odisha were hit by the ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm. A total of 11.5 lakh people in Odisha were evacuated and moved to safer places by Thursday.
Over 4,000 NDRF personnel were deployed in the affected areas and teams of Coast Guards, Air Force and Navy were on standby in case of an eventuality. 13 Navy aircraft were at standby in Visakhapatnam to carry out damage assessment and relief distribution requirements.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that after the landfall, Cyclone Fani is likely to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a severed cyclonic storm and move to Bangladesh after weakening.