Rain lashes Srikakulam as ‘Fani’ nears the Odisha coast

Destruction caused by Titli, and Phethai are still fresh in the minds of the people

May 03, 2019 12:37 am | Updated 12:37 am IST - Ichchapuram (SRIKAKULAM DT.)

  Close call:  NH-16 near Ichchapuram wore a deserted look as heavy winds and intermittent rain lashed Srikakulam district on Thursday.

Close call: NH-16 near Ichchapuram wore a deserted look as heavy winds and intermittent rain lashed Srikakulam district on Thursday.

A sense of fear has gripped residents in Palasa, Mandasa, Tekkali, Kaviti, Kachili, Sompeta and other areas bordering Odisha a day ahead of the expected landfall of extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani near Puri.

Streets wore a deserted sight as intermittent rain accompanied by occasional gales lashed the district, especially in areas bordering the coast throughout the day.

Roads including the National Highway were devoid of traffic with most of the heavy vehicles seen parked along the side of the road.

Crop loss feared

Farmers in the coconut and cashew-rich Uddanam region were worried about a crop loss, with the damage wreaked by cyclones Titli and Phethai still fresh in people’s memory.

“It is beyond our imagination as to how we will face another devastating cyclone at a time when we are yet to fully recover from the damage caused by Titli and Phethai,” Phani Raghavulu, a cashew exporter from Palasa, told The Hindu .

People have resorted to panic buying of essential commodities. “Going by the predictions, the cyclone is expected to be quite severe. Hence, we don’t want to take any chances,” said Jerripothula Ramu, another trader in Kachili.

The district administration has identified 12 mandals in the district as vulnerable, such as Tekkali, Palasa, Mandasa, Polaki, Gara, Kaviti, Nandigam, Santhabommali, Ichchapuram, Kanchili, Sompeta and Vajrapukotturu.

Sources in the district administration said that the wind speed and rain might pick up by night.

Residents of all low-lying areas have been evacuated to shelters and adequate stock of essentials have been kept on hand.

Acting fast

Nine NDRF, 10 SDRF and 36 teams from the fire department have been rushed to the district and kept on alert mode. About 15 special officers have been deputed to 15 vulnerable mandals and the entire situation is being monitored by four IAS officers.

Altogether 126 relief centres have been set up along the coastal villages and 19,129 people from vulnerable villages have been evacuated.

APEPDCL has set up a Command Control Centre and it is being monitored by the Discom’s CMD K. Raja Bapaiah. Despite that, some places have been facing a power shutdown from 4 p.m.

About 24 gates in Gotta Barrage have been lifted to release excess water, and the flow is around 3,260 cusecs.

In a first of its kind, the district administration has supplied 50 mobile charging centres in Ichchapuram, Kanchili, Kaviti, Sompeta, Mandasa and Vajrapukotturu to enable charging of 23 mobile phones simultaneously.

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