Exactly a year after its catastrophic encounter with cyclone Phailin, Orissa heaved a sigh of relief as cyclone Hudhud that lashed the state Sunday did not cause any damage.
However, officials were keeping their fingers crossed as the cyclone sweeping the state after making landfall in Andhra still packs enough rains to cause flash floods. The state government has ordered release of water from the reservoirs of hydropower stations in south Orissa.
“Thank God, the worst is over. Till now Hudhud has not proved to be damaging,” Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.
Wind speed did not go beyond 60 km an hour in most of the south Orissa districts of Malakanagiri, Gajapati, Koraput, Ganjam and Rayagada. Power supplies were running in most areas except a few places close to north Andhra Pradesh.
Officials confirmed three deaths in the last 24 hours, but none was after cyclone made landfall. A girl died in Kendrapara district after a boat capsized during evacuation while one person died in Ganjam district on way to hospital. A fisherman was caught in the tidal surge while trying to save his fishing boat in Puri district.
Malkangiri district, which was initially thought to be in the line of cyclone’s path, may miss the storm as it looked set to cross over Koraput and Nabarangpur before entering neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
Said Mohapatra: “Though rainfall has not been much till this evening, we expect it to pick up now. We are keeping a close watch.”
Before Hudhud made landfall, over 67,000 people were evacuated from the vulnerable areas of south Orissa and coastal Orissa and moved to safe shelters. In Ganjam alone, over 26,000 people were moved to safe shelters.
“We were prepared to forcibly evacuate people to shelters had the cylone veered towards Orissa,” said Ashish Thakre, Project Director of Ganjam’s District Rural Development Agency.
IMD officials in Bhubaneswar expect rainfall up to 250 mm in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nawarangpur, Ganjam, Gajpati, Kalahandi, Nayagarh, Khurda, Puri, Nawapara, Boudh, Bolangir, Sonepur and Phulbani districts in the next 24 hours.
The intensity of rainfall is expected to subside October 15 onwards.