8 die as cyclone Titli batters Andhra, Odisha coast (Roundup)
Visakhapatnam/ Bhubaneswa : A very severe cyclonic storm Titli unleashed havoc in north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha on Thursday, claiming eight lives in Andhra and causing widespread destruction, officials said.
The cyclone, which made landfall between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha early on Thursday, triggered widespread rains in the two states, uprooted trees, electricity poles, communication towers, damaged houses and crops and snapped electricity supply.
Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh were affected by the cyclone, which hit the coast near Palasa close to the border with Odisha. Srikakulam district bore the brunt as the strong winds uprooted a large number of coconut trees.
Officials said five deaths were reported from Srikakulam district while three persons were killed in neighbouring Vijayanagaram district. Six fishermen were among the dead.
According to the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, Titli crossed between North Andhra and South Odisha coast near Palasa with wind speed of 140-150 km per hour.
Parts of the two Andhra districts received heavy rainfall triggered by the cyclone. Few places in Srikakulam district got over 20 cm rainfall, flooding the low-lying areas and roads.
Uprooted trees fell on the roads, disrupting vehicular traffic. The state-owned road transport corporation suspended all bus services on the Andhra-Odisha border area.
Several trains were cancelled or diverted due to the cyclone.
According to East Coast Railway, railway stations were damaged at several places. The station at Palasa suffered massive damage. Teams of railway officials were studying the impact of cyclone between Palasa and Brahmpur.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu reached Visakhapatnam on Thursday evening and left for Srikakulam by road to review the situation.
Titli triggered heavy rainfall in eight districts in Odisha. However, there was no loss of life in the state.
Heavy rains lashed Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts as Titli left behind uprooted trees and displaced three lakh people.
Odisha is facing a possible flood in its coastal belt on Thursday, an official said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places were very likely in Odisha in the next 24 hours.
"We believe that the entire state, except some western parts, is likely to receive rain throughout the day. Depending upon the rainfall, we may see some flood in coastal Odisha. However, there is no flood-like situation as of now," said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.
"There may be flooding of the Vansadhara river as Gajapati and Rayagada districts received heavy rainfall due to the cyclone," he added.
The officer said that Gajapati district, which was most affected, received more than 200 mm of rainfall while Mohana block in the district received the maximum rainfall of 315 mm.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday reviewed the cyclone situation.
Around three lakh people have been evacuated in the coastal state and 1,112 relief camps set up for the evacuees. As many as 105 pregnant women in Ganjam and 18 in Jgatsinghpur were shifted to hospitals.
All schools, colleges and anganwadis would remain closed on Thursday and Friday. Trees have been uprooted in large numbers in the coastal belt.
The system is very likely to move northwestwards for next 12 hours and then re-curve northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha.
The coastal alert has been put at 10 -- the highest with fishermen prohibited from venturing into the sea for the next few days.