Bhubaneswar/Hyderabad: 9:10 pm: IMD, Director General, LS Rathore says cyclone Phailin has made landfall in Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha. Cyclone to remain very severe for 6 hours. Windspeeds upto 200 kmph and it will increase slightly while crossing the coast. Heavy to very heavy rainfall reported in Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh.
He says it cannot be termed as supercyclone. He says the intensity of rainfall will increase in the coming hours. The storm surge will be around 3 to 3.5 meters.
8:55 pm: Heavy rains in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh. Electricity poles have been uprooted.
8:40 pm: NDMA Vice Chairman Shashidhar Reddy says storm system has slowed down and landfall is delayed.
8:30 pm: District Collector says 30 people are stranded in Ventura in Kaviti Mandal, Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh.
7:50 pm: Cyclone Phailin is 30 kms away from Odisha coast. IMD says wind speed has started intensifying in the coastal areas.
7:30 pm: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directs government agencies to extend all possible assistance to states concerned in ensuring safety of people as cyclone Phailin approaches east coast. The Prime Minister was briefed by the Cabinet Secretary on arrangements put in place to deal with the cyclone.
7:15 pm: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde says the Ministry is holdng meetings of all concerned departments in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh. "Nearly 5 lakh people have been evacuated. Eighteen choppers from airforce have been pressed into action," he adds.
7:05 pm: No electricity in Gopalpur, Odisha, and Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh since last night.
6:35 pm: Cyclone Phailin is 40 kms away from Odisha coast and windspeed is 180 kms per hour. IMD says the storm would make landfall by 7.30 pm-8 pm. Seven people have died in the cyclone related incident in Odisha.
6:20 pm: Due to 'Phailin' cyclonic conditions prevailing in East coast region, the incoming service of following trains coming from East Coast Railway have been cancelled. Consequently the outgoing service from Northern Railway of the same are cancelled as under:
Train No 22812 New Delhi Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani Exp scheduled to leave on 13/10/2013 will remain cancelled.
Train No 12802 New Delhi -Puri Purushottam Exp, 12816 New Delhi- Puri Nandan Knanan Exp and 22806 New Delhi Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani Exp trains scheduled leave New Delhi on 14/10/2013 will remain cancelled.
Train No 18478 Haridwar-Puri Utkal Exp scheduled to leave Haridwar on 15/10/2013 will remain cancelled.
5:55pm: Six people have died in Odisha because of the high winds, due to falling trees. Ganjam to be worst hit and 40 per cent of relief operations will be concentrated here. The intensity of the cyclone is likely to decrease 6 hours after it makes a landfall, but it will be a severe storm through Sunday.
5:15 pm: Cyclone Phailin in 60 kms away from the Gopalpur coast in Odisha at 5 pm. NDMA Vice Chairman S Reddy says nearly 5 lakh people have been evacuated in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Over 2,300 NDRF personnel have been deployed for search and rescue. Twenty medical teams have been flown in with medical support and 60 teams of Navy were ready at different places. Coast districts of West Bengal, East Midnapore and South 24 Parangas are put on high alert.
4:22 pm: IMD says cyclone Phailin is 90 kms off coast of Gopalpur around 2:30 pm. The current observations of wind in Gopalpur is around 150 kms per hour. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand will also receive heavy rainfall. Other states - Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and East Uttar Pradesh will also receive rainfall. According to IMD the maximum speed of cyclone Phailin is likely to reach 220 kms per hour
3:57 pm: No people are now within 5 kilometers of the coastline in Odisha. The state government has appealed to all those in Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, who are in katcha houses to move to pucca houses. Relief shelters have been set up in schools and colleges. Three columns of the Army are in Odisha from Jharkhand.
3:01 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy says the Army, Navy and NDRF teams are in place. Talking about relief and rescue preparations, he said, "Drinking water is being available. Boats are also being arranged as part of the contingency plan. We have a contingency plan in case communication fails, hand radio, wireless facilities are in place. Doctors and veterinary doctors are in place. There is no need to fear. We are prepared to handle the situation. Srikakulam, Vizianagram, Vishakhapatnam are the places we're concerned about. Temporary structures will be affected."
2:56 pm: The cattle in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are also being moved to safer places.
2:29 pm: President Pranab Mukherjee has cut short his Bengal visit because of Cyclone Phailin.
1:49 pm: The NDMA says over 3,60,000 people have been evacuated from four districts of Odisha and more than 85000 people have been evacuated from Andhra Pradesh. In Odisha 29 teams of NDRF have been deployed along with rescue equipments. In Andhra Pradesh 15 teams have been deployed.
1:40 pm: NDMA Vice Chairman Shashidhar Reddy has said cyclone Phailin is expected to make landfall around 6 pm. "Around 10 to 12 helicopters are already on standby," he said. He says the rains are expected to intensify and the winds at the moment are also heavy. He says the Ganjam district of Odisha will be most affected, 40 per cent of all relief operations will be in this district.
12:57 pm: All trains from Howrah to Vishakhapatnam have been cancelled indefinitely. Trains on this route pass through Bhubaneswar and Odisha coast. Meanwhile, heavy rains continue across Odisha.
12:46 pm: 18 fishermen are stranded 4 km away from Paradip coast in Odisha as they run out of fuel. The government says it cannot rescue them because of the weather condition.
12:06 pm: 3,41,000 people have been evacuated in Odisha, all flights to Bhubaneshwar have been cancelled indefinitely. 300 Armymen have been deployed.
11:14 am: The Met department has said that Phailin is a very severe cyclonic storm and will remain that when it makes landfall this evening. It is currently 200 km southeast of Gopalpur, Odisha and the wind speed will go up to 210 to 240 km per hour, the Met department said. "At the time of crossing coast, it will remain a very severe storm even after 6 hours of making landfall. Heavy to very heavy rainfall at most places, extremely heavy rainfall in isolated spots in Odisha and heavy to very rain in coastal areas of AP is expected. Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh will get heavy to very heavy rains," said LK Rathore, DG, Cyclone Centre, IMD.
10:59 am: MoS PMO V Narayanasamy said, "AK Antony has monitored the preparations. The Army, Navy and other defence teams are on the field. The governments of both the states are gearing up to face the cyclone."
10:44 am: The Indian Air Force says that the C17 aircraft has lifted 60 tonnes of load including vehicles and boats to Bhubaneswar.
10:35 am: Four teams consisting of approximately 500 Army men have been moved to the coastal districts with relief material and medical arrangement. The columns are equipped with mechanical powered boats, life jackets, life saving medicine including other rescue material.
10:16 am: One person has died in Bhubaneswar after a tree fell on him during heavy rains as cyclone Phailin approaches the Odisha coast. High speed winds and rains have also affected electric poles and durga puja pandals in Bhubaneswar. In Gopalpur, where Phailin is expected to make landfall by 5:30 pm, high tides are being seen in the sea.
The Met department has now said that Phailin is a very severe 'super cyclone' and its wind speed may go up to 200 and 240 km per hour by noon itself. Phailin, a storm as big as Hurricane Katrina that left New Orleans a ghost town, is heading towards northern Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and is expected to make landfall at 5:30 pm on Saturday.
It has started raining in Andhra Pradesh as well as Odisha and the Met department has predicted heavy rainfall at most places in the two states for the next 48 hours. Total suspension of fishing operations has been advised.
The latest satellite images show a very severe cyclonic storm over West-central and adjoining east central Bay of Bengal which is moving northwards for the past six hours. It is at a distance of 320 km southeast of Gopalpur.
High tides are already being seen in the sea at Gopalpur. In Bhubaneswar, it has been raining with a high wind speed, affecting electricity poles and durga puja pandals.
The cyclone will hit the coast between Paradip in Odisha and Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. It could hit with wind speeds similar to the cyclone that left 10,000 people dead in 1999 in Odisha.
Carrying their baggage, thousands of people are leaving the port town of Paradip to escape the wrath of the severe cyclonic storm. The people, most of them workers of different industries including Oil Refinery of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Paradip Port Trust (PPT), Paradip Phosphates Limited (PPL), IFFCO and Essar steel plant, have started vacating the town since Thursday. "Over 30,000 people vacated the town and it is still continuing," official sources said.
The port town of Paraip in Jagatsinghpur was the epicentre of 1999 Super Cyclone with Ersame block bearing the maximum brunt of the natural disaster.
Over 2,60,000 people have been evacuated and more are being shifted to safer ground. The Navy, the Air Force, the National Disaster Response Force are on standby. The Odisha government has also asked for RBI's support to provide government payments towards relief expenditure.
The good news is that this time around the Odisha government seems to be much more well prepared in comparison to the super cyclone in 1999. Since then, 247 cyclone shelters have been built in the coastal areas and the people and the rescue team in the state are much more well prepared to face such disasters.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has appealed to the people not to panic. "I appeal to all to people in Odisha to be calm and not panic. In such disaster situation there are some people who indulge in hoarding and blackmarketing. They won't be spared if they do so," Patnaik said.
The administration says evacuations will be completed by Saturday morning in the four most vulnerable districts - Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Ganjam. The Odisha health department cancelled holidays and leave of all doctors in view of the impending situation even as the state government set a target of "zero casualty" and ordered speedy evacuation of people in seven coastal districts.
Evacuations are on in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh too. The Met department has warned of maximum damage to the three north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Vishakapatnam. The police have relaxed the curfew for 9 hours to enable citizens to stock up on essentials. Government employees on strike against the bifurcation of the state have also resumed duties to enable rescue and rehabilitation operations.
Medical teams of Union Health Ministry are also getting ready to travel to the two states at a short notice. Emergency food supplies and shelters for people expected to flee the heavy winds and rains were also being readied in the vulnerable districts. Disaster management teams were also kept in readiness.
The IAF has deployed 24 aircraft including its transport planes such as Ilyushin-76, C-130J Super Hercules and the Antonv-32 along with 18 helicopters. "The Defence Minister has directed the armed forces to be on high alert and asked them to be ready to move in for relief operations when required," a Defence Ministry official said in Delhi.
The other regions which are expected to be affected by the cyclone include North Chhattisgarh, South Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gangetic West Bengal.
Following are the helpline numbers:
District control room number:
Mayurbhanj 06792-252759, Jajpur 06728-222648, Gajapati 06815-222943, Dhenkanal 06762-221376 Khurda 06755-220002, Keonjhar 06766-255437, Cuttak 0671-2507842, Ganjam 06811-263978, Puri 06752-223237, Kendrapara 06727-232803, Jagatsinghpur 06724-220368, Balasore 06782-262674, Bhadrak 06784-251881. Andhra Pradesh: 040-23456005/23451043 Fax-040-23451819
(With additional information from PTI)