No casualties have been reported so far due to Cyclone Phailin which hit the Odisha coast on Saturday night,even as its intensity has reduced to 90-100 kmph in Gopalpur.
According to NDRF chief Krishna Chowdhary,”Our teams are out in both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for rescue and relief operations. So far we have not received any report of casualties anywhere.”
More than 3,000 personnel of NDRF have been deployed in both the states and efforts are on to rescue those who were trapped under the debris.
He said there were two reports from Andhra Pradesh where some people have been trapped and NDRF teams have rushed to the spot to rescue them.
The NDRF chief said initial reports suggested that due to the impact of the cyclone,buildings and some communication towers were destroyed.
Chowdhary said yesterday five persons lost their lives in Odisha due to collapse of a building but the incident took place before the landfall of cyclone.
Powerful cyclone Phailin,the worst since the disastrous super-cyclone of 1999,pounded the Odisha coast on Saturday night,bringing in its wake torrential rains and wind speeds of over 200 kmph in the state and in neighbouring north coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Vast swathes of coastal districts of Odisha,especially Ganjam,whose Gopalpur-on-sea was the entry point for the storm,were engulfed in darkness as trees and electric poles were felled by the cyclone. Terrified people were forced to remain indoors by heavy rains and vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt.
More than half a million people were evacuated by authorities from vulnerable areas in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in one of the biggest such exercises.