14 years after the devastation caused in Coastal Odisha by Super Cyclone on October 29, 1999, Odisha is bracing for another ‘very severe’ Cyclone Phailin, which has intensified further at about 520km south-southeast of Paradip and approaching Gopalpur very fast. The wind speed prediction has been upgraded to 240-260 km per hour.
Strong winds have already started blowing in parts of Puri and Cuttack districts. Heavy rain falls are likely to occurr in most places of Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khordha and Cuttack by Friday night. The cyclonic storm will hit Odisha by Saturday evening, which may last for six hours at a speed of 205-215 km per hour or so – enough to cause maximum damage. The US Navy Weather Forecast has warned of a 240-260 km per hour wind speed.
The storm will cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Coast near Gopalpur by Saturday evening. The Cyclone Phailin may trigger 2.5-3 metre sea surge and high tide at the shores of Gopalpur, Paradip and Puri. The Odisha Government has asked for 15 NDRF teams from outside the state. Many teams have already taken their positions.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has already dispatched 28 teams of National Disaster Response Forces (NDRF) and two IAF choppers for Odisha to deal with the cyclonic storm. Each team will have 40 members. The State Secretariat and all other offices will remain open during the puja, as all leaves of the government employees were cancelled earlier.
While the Cyclone Phailin may play havoc in 14 districts of Odisha, another seven districts could be remotely affected too. In total, 21 districts have been put on high alert. The rescue and relief system has been put in place, as informed by Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surjya Narayan Patro and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Pratap Keshari Deb.
Cyclone Helpline Numbers in Odisha:
Bhubaneswar: 0674-2534177, Puri: 06752-223237, Ganjam: 06811-263978, Gajapati: 06815-222943, Jagatsinghpur: 06724-220368, Balasore: 06782 -262286, Bhadrakh: 06784-251881, Kendrapara: 06727-232803, Cuttack: 0671-2507842, Khordha: 06755-220002, Jajpur: 06728-222648, Nayagarh: 06753-252978, Gajapati: 06815-222943, Dhenkanal: 06762-221376, Mayurbhanj: 06792-252759, Keonjhar: 06766-255437.