Cyclone Fani, strongest storm to hit India in five years, killed at least 12 people in Odisha. While most deaths were caused by falling trees, a mass evacuation of over 1.2 million people in last the 24 hours averted a greater loss of life. The storm made landfall around 8 am and barrelled through the state leaving a trail of devastation in coastal areas.
Having hit land, tropical cyclone lost some of its power and was downgraded to a 'Deep Depression' by the Indian Meteorological Department. The cyclone started waning from around 5:30 am in the morning and lay centered at 60 km NW of Kolkata. The tropical cyclone Fani moved further north-northeastwards and entered West Bengal through Kharagpur in West Midnapore around 12.30 am on Saturday.
In India, authorities are still assessing the damage and casualties left behind by cyclone Fani. Puri, which lay directly in the path of Cyclone Fani, suffered extensive damage, as winds gusting up to 200 kmph snapped power lines and uprooted trees on Friday.
According to aviation ministry, Bhubaneswar airport suffered a significant damage and would re-open on Saturday.
In Bangladesh, around 1.2 million people, who are living in the most vulnerable districts, had been moved to nearly 4,000 shelters.
According to officials, Bangladesh on Friday evacuated over five lakh people from its southwestern districts. Nearly two-thirds of people from vulnerable areas like Koira and Dakop in Khulna district, have been shifted to a safe place.
Bengal witnessed heavy rains along with gusty winds of about 90 kmph at midnight when Cyclone Fani passed. The state's government had taken precautionary measures in East and West Midnapore, North and South 24 Pargana districts, besides Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram, Kolkata and the Sundarbans.
(Edited by Rupa Burman Roy)