Cyclone Fani | Updates: Coast Guard deploys 4 ships, 34 disaster relief teams

May 02, 2019 11:54 am | Updated May 03, 2019 09:44 am IST

High tidal waves lash the shore under the influence of extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.

High tidal waves lash the shore under the influence of extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.

Cyclone Fani, a severe cyclonic storm, is expected to make landfall on Friday, May 3, 2019 on the eastern coast of the country. The State governments in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have begun making arrangements for evacuation and shelter. The landfall of Fani in Puri district will start between 8 and 10 am and continue up to 12 noon on Friday, according to the Odisha government.

More than 11 lakh people are being evacuated in Odisha.

Read Friday's ongoing updates here.

May 3, 2019|1:15 am

Coast Guard deploys 4 ships, 34 disaster relief teams

As Cyclone Fani heads towards the eastern coast, the Indian Coast Guard has positioned 34 disaster relief teams at different spots and deployed four ships to handle any exigency.

“While #ExtremelySevereCyclonicStorm #FANI lay centered 170 kms ENE of #Vishakhapatnam @IndiaCoastGuard positions 34 Disaster Relief Teams #DRTs at #Vizag #Chennai #Paradip #Gopalpur #Haldia #Frazergunj & #Kolkata besides 04 #CoastGuard ships at #Vizag & #Chennai @DefenceMinIndia,” the Coast Guard tweet.

May 3, 2019|1:00 am

Fani to make morning landfall

Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi said the cyclone is likely to hit the coast very close to the pilgrim town of Puri around 9.30 am on Friday and the entire process of landfall will take four to five hours.

Padhi warned people that remaining indoor during the entire landfall period is a must.

“There may be a lull before the storm, but it will be the most dangerous phase and people should be extremely careful and keep indoor,” he said.

All shops, business establishments, private and government offices except those associated with relief and rescue operations will remain closed in 11 coastal districts as a precautionary measure, he said.

May 3, 2019|12:20 am

Navy deploys 3 ships for rescue operations

The Indian Navy has deployed three naval ships so that it can launch rescue operation after the cyclone hits the coastline of Odisha.

“Indian naval ships Sahyadri, Ranvir and Kadmatt with relief material and medical teams have been deployed so that they can commence rescue operation as soon as the cyclone crosses the coast,” Navy spokesperson Capt D K Sharma said.

11:30 pm

‘Fani’ fear grips Srikakulam

Heavy rain accompanied by gales started lashing several places in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts and officials began evacuating the people in vulnerable areas to safety. Various crops were already damaged in the north coastal belt, and there were power outages in villages.

The IMD predicted that squally wind with speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph was likely to prevail along and off the north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts as the cyclone crosses the coast during the day on Friday.

It suggested a total suspension of fishing operations, evacuation from coastal areas and judicious regulation of rail and road traffic. Meanwhile, Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam told Union Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha during a video-conference on cyclone preparedness that 11 mandals in Srikakulam district and five in Vizianagaram were likely to be impacted by Fani and necessary precautions were being taken.

The following helpline numbers have been arranged at major railway stations: Vijayawada - 0866-2575167, Anakapalle- 08924-221698, Tuni - 08854-252172, Rajahmundry - 0883-2420541 and 2420543, and Samalkot - 0884-2327010.

10:15 pm

Bangladesh orders mass evacuation in 19 coastal districts

The Bangladesh government issued mass evacuation orders in 19 coastal districts to prevent casualties as meteorologists predicted cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ to make landfall on Friday after hitting Indian coastlines.

The armed forces were also kept ready for disaster operations.

“Directives have been issued asking the administrations of 19 districts in the coastlines to start evacuating people to safe shelters from 10 am tomorrow (Friday),” disaster management ministry’s senior secretary Shah Kamal told a news briefing.

Residents from the 19 districts will be shifted to over 4,000 shelters erected along the coastlines, while the local authorities took possession of safe installations like schools to be used as shelters, if required, he said.

The decision for evacuation was taken at an emergency inter-ministerial meeting at the Secretariat here. Representatives from the military and other armed forces also participated in the meeting.

9:30 pm

PM’s Chaibasa rally deferred to May 6

The election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chaibasa on May 5 has been deferred by a day due to impending impact of the approaching cyclone Fani.

The proposed rally of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at Gopal Maidan in Jamshedpur (East Singhbhum) listed on Friday has also been put off due to the cyclone.

8:30 pm

Cyclone Fani is expected to cross between Gopalpur and Chandbali around Puri during forenoon on May 4, the Met Department has tweeted.

"ESCS FANI centered near 17.4 N/84.8E over westcentral Bay of Bengal at 1730 hrs IST about 275 km SSW of Puri & 160 km ESE of Visakhapatnam. To cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur & Chandbali around Puri during forenoon of tomorrow, the 3rd May," says the tweet.

8:00 pm

Flights to and from Bhubaneswar, Kolkata airports cancelled

Due to cyclone Fani, all flights to and from Bhubaneswar airport on May 3 stand cancelled, the DGCA has announced.

No flight will depart or arrive at Kolkata airport between 9.30 pm of May 3 and 6 pm of May 4 due to cyclone Fani.

The Railways Thursday said around 102 trains have been cancelled in the last two days, while four trains have been diverted.

A special train has started from Puri at 12 noon, going towards Shalimar in West Bengal. It has reserved as well as unreserved accommodation. It will stop at Khurda Road, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jajpur, Kendujhar Road, Bhadrak, Baleswar and Kharagpur.

The other two special trains will ferry passengers from Puri to Howrah.

7:55 pm

Women in advanced stage of pregnancy shifted to hospitals in Odisha

With the ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ fast approaching the east coast, the Odisha government Thursday issued instructions to shift women in their advanced stage of pregnancy to nearby hospitals, as part of its evacuation drive in the coastal areas.

“More than 1000 pregnant women have been admitted in different hospitals.

“As Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had given specific instruction to take care of women, children and elderly persons during the storm, we shifted the pregnant women to hospitals on a priority basis,” Sangram Mohapatra, the spokesperson at the special relief commissioner’s office (SRC), said.

At least 14 Odisha districts - Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Balasore, Bhadrak, Ganjam, Khurda, Jajpur, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Gajapati, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar - are expected to bear the brunt of the cyclonic storm.

7:20 pm

7:00 pm

A.P. CM assures help to Odisha, reviews situation

Amaravati (A.P.): As cyclone Fani is expected to hit Puri in Odisha, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday reviewed the preparedness of the official machinery in northern coastal areas of his state and assured all necessary help to the neighbour.

A red alert has been issued for Srikakulam, bordering Odisha, and Vizianagarm districts in Andhra Pradesh as the extremely severe cyclonic storm moved closer to the eastern coast and is expected to cross the coast off Puri on May 3.

It lay centred over West Central Bay of Bengal about 430 km south-southwest of Puri and 190 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

Mr. Naidu visited the State Secretariat and reviewed the situation with officials. He directed them to be alert for any rescue operations, an official release said.

He spoke to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik over phone and said his government was ready to extend all necessary help to the neighbouring State in this hour of crisis, it said.

“I will be in constant touch with the Odisha CM. If required, we should shift cyclone-affected people from that state to our State. The government machinery should be ready for this,” Mr. Naidu was quoted as saying in the release.

The Chief Minister said he would personally visit the cyclone-affected areas, if required, to monitor relief operations.

“I have written to the Election Commission seeking relaxation of the model code but they have not yet responded.

They should respond at least in the time of crisis. I am staying calm to avoid friction between institutions,” the Chief Minister said.

He accused the EC of “unduly interfering” in all affairs.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam reviewed the cyclone situation with the AP Real-Time Governance Centre Chief Executive officer Babu Ahamed and officials of various departments.

The red alert sounded in Srikakulam district will continue till May 3 as gales with a velocity of 140 kmph are expected. The adjoining Vizianagaram district is expected to witness gales with a speed of 90-100 kmph, the release said.

The very heavy to heavy rainfall warning in these two districts also remained, according to the RTGC that is closely tracking Fani’s movement.

On the instructions of the Central government, the Andhra Pradesh government was dispatching water satchets and chlorine tablets in large quantities to Odisha to meet emergency requirements, it said.

The railways deputed officers at major railway stations in Vijayawada division to help the stranded passengers in view of the disruption in train movement.

South Central Railway Vijayawada Division manager P. Srinivas said in a release that helplines have been opened at all major railway stations to assist the passengers. — PTI

6.15 p.m.

Fani slows down

The Extremely Severe Cyclonic System (ESCS) Fani has slowed down a little since morning.

Fani which was moving at 21 kmph at 11.30 a.m. on Thursday slowed down to 17 kmph at 2.30 p.m., according to an IMD Hyderabad update.

At 2.30 p.m. the cyclone was located 170 km East-Northeast of Visakhapatnam and 320 km South-Southwest of Puri and 610 km South Southwest of West Bengal.

The update predicted winds of between 170-180 km (maximum 200 km) when the weather system crosses from sea to land.

5.30 p.m.

81 teams NDRF comprising over 4,000 personnel deployed

Over 4,000 specialised personnel as part of 81 NDRF teams have been deployed to deal with Fani.

NDRF chief S.N. Pradhan told PTI that about 50 teams have been pre-positioned in the coastal areas of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal which are feared to be affected while another 31 teams have been kept on standby.

Twenty-eight fully equipped teams have been deployed in and around Puri in Odisha as the cyclonic storm is expected to make a landfall there on May 3 noon, the NDRF Director-General (DG) said.

Similarly, 12 teams have been deployed in Andhra Pradesh and six in West Bengal. The rest of the teams, that comprise about 50 personnel each, have been kept on standby in these States.

Mr. Pradhan said a Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) and a commandant-rank officer have also been tasked to monitor the activities of the rescue and relief teams from ground in Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar and Puri.

The teams have been equipped with additional boats, satellite phones, medical equipment, medicines, tree cutters, pickup and common mobility vehicles, and other gadgets, he said.

The force has also activated a round-the-clock control room at its headquarters here and a team of officials is in constant touch with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the disaster response units of the three States.

NDRF teams have also been kept on alert in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

5.15 p.m.

NASA satellites track Fani

NASA satellites Aqua and Terra tracked Cyclone Fani as it continued to move northwards along the eastern coast of India, the US space agency said.

The satellites have been providing infrared, microwave and visible imagery of Fani, NASA said in a blog post .

Fani continued to strengthen and move north through the Northern Indian Ocean on April 30 and May 1 when Aqua and Terra satellite provided imagery of the strengthening storm, it said.

4.45 p.m.


4.30 p.m.

Over 3.5 lakh people evacuated in Odisha

According to Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi, more than 3.5 lakh people were evacuated from low lying areas by 3 p.m.

A total number of around 11.5 lakh people were to be evacuated in as many as 15 districts by late this evening, he added.

He said that the administration was trying its best to make people in the coastal areas aware of the risks that were lying ahead through loudspeakers, sirens and messages.

3.30 pm

Modi reviews Fani preparedness

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 2 chaired a high-level meeting to review preparedness for Cyclone Fani.

The Prime Minister was briefed on the likely path of the cyclone, and the ongoing precautionary and preparatory measures being undertaken, official sources said.

These include provision of adequate resources; deployment of teams from NDRF and the armed forces; arrangements to provide drinking water; and standby systems to restore power and telecom services.

After reviewing the emerging situation, the prime minister instructed senior officers to maintain close coordination with officers of affected States, to ensure preventive measures, and also to take effective steps for relief and rescue operations, as required.

The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary to the PM, the Additional Principal Secretary to the PM, the Home Secretary, and other senior officials from the IMD, NDRF, NDMA and PMO.

3.10 p.m.

95 trains cancelled

The Railways on Thursday said as many as 95 trains have been cancelled in the last two days in view of the ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm Fani, which is likely to affect Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, while three special trains have been put into service to ferry stranded passengers from affected areas.

The national transporter said it will grant full refund to passengers for the cancelled or diverted trains if tickets are produced for cancellation within three days from the scheduled date of journey.

The Railways had cancelled 81 trains on May 1.

The trains which have been cancelled include the Howrah-Chennai Central Coromandal Express, Patna-Eranakulam Express, New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, Howrah-Hyderabad East Coast Express and the Bhubaneswar-Rameswaram Express.

The New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, New Delhi-Puri Nandan Kanan Express, Puri-New Delhi Purushottam Express and the New Delhi-Puri Purushottam Express which had to begin their journeys on May 2 have been cancelled as well.

The Railways has also cancelled six more trains which were to begin on Friday. These include the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and the Puri-New Delhi Nandan Kanan Express.

The transporter has issued directions to the divisional managers of all zones that frequent announcements are to be made at important stations for sensitising passengers about the cancellations, short termination and diversion of coaching trains in both directions of the Bhadrak (Odisha)-Visakhapatnam section.

So far, the Railways has announced three tourist special trains to ferry passengers from affected areas.

A special train has started from Puri at 12 noon, going towards Shalimar in West Bengal. It has reserved as well as unreserved accommodation. It will stop at Khurda Road, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jajpur, Kendujhar Road, Bhadrak, Baleswar and Kharagpur.

The other two special trains will ferry passengers from Puri to Howrah.

Earlier on May 1, Railways had issued instructions that dry food items, 'janata khana' and water bottles in sufficient quantities were to be made available at catering stalls of all major stations.

Due to disruption of train services, the situation may warrant transhipment of passengers. Local transporters are to be contracted for hiring of road vehicles for meeting exigencies as and where necessary, it said.

The national transporter has also instructed that sufficient amount of cash be made available at major stations for granting refunds to passengers and meeting other exigencies. Frontline staff are to be advised to be extremely polite while dealing with passengers and leaving no scope for complaint, it added.

"Emergency control is to operated round the clock with helpline numbers for guiding passengers. No staff are to be allowed to go on leave for the next three days," the Railways said. — PTI

3 p.m.

Level 3 warning raised in Guntur

The Guntur district administration has raised level 3 warning at Nizampatnam fishing harbour. Fishermen have been advised against venturing into sea. Under the impact of cyclone, Guntur and surrounding areas witnessed rainfall late on Wednesday night. While the city saw moderate winds, no damage was done.

3 p.m.

Fani raises safety concerns about spotted deer in Balukhand sanctuary

Concerns have been raised by a senior wildlife official on the safety of spotted deer in Balukhand sanctuary, in view of the likely landfall of Cyclone Fani close to the place.

The sanctuary is located along the Bay of Bengal coast, between the towns of Puri and Konark in Odisha.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) A.K. Mohapatra told PTI, the fate of about 3,000 spotted deer in the sanctuary has become uncertain as wild animals cannot be shifted to safe places like human beings.

“There is no specific plan for their protection. The bamboo groves and Casuarina plants inside the sanctuary may help the animals to protect themselves,” he said.

Forest officials are trying to generate awareness among the local people not to harm the animals and provide them shelter during the cyclone.

However, the effort is unlikely to help the spotted deer as the local residents will struggle for their own survival during the calamity, a resident said.

Though Odisha government has launched the country’s biggest evacuation drive to save the lives of people living in low-lying areas, there is no specific plan to rescue wild animals.

The Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of animals, including spotted deer, monkeys, jungle cats, hyenas, monitor lizards and snakes.

2.30 p.m.

Suresh Prabhu asks airport authorities to stay alert

All authorities concerned have been alerted so that they are ready to deal with cyclone Fani, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday.

“Alerted all concerned to be ready to deal with Cyclone Fani. Airport Authority of India issued alert to all coastal airports to ensure all precautions, SOPs (standard operating procedures) put in place immediately,” Mr. Prabhu tweeted.

Mr. Prabhu said the situation would be monitored at highest level. “Airlines and all others to be fully ready,” he added. - PTI

12.20 p.m.

Vizianagaram people welcome Fani

Vizianagaram Collector interacting with officials near the coast at Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district.

Vizianagaram Collector interacting with officials near the coast at Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district.


The people of Vizianagaram, which has been facing severe drought and acute shortage of drinking water, are looking forward to the cyclone. Vizianagaram city faces an unprecedented water crisis. The city gets only 15 million litres per day as against the requirement of 45 MLD for a population of four lakh people.

Almost all rivers, including the Champavati, the Jhanjhavati, tributaries and tanks, have dried up.

People are wholeheartedly welcoming the severe cyclonic storm which will bring huge rainfall, although nature’s fury is expected to create havoc in some parts of the district.

“Cyclone is a blessing in disguise for the people of Vizianagaram. Groundwater may get recharged with the expected rainfall in couple of days. Apartment-dwellers who depend on groundwater mostly are eagerly waiting for downpour,” said D.S.P. Lingam, a resident of Cantonment.


12 noon

Odisha govt begins evacuating people

The Odisha government on Thursday started evacuating people from low-lying areas in several coastal districts to safer places as cyclone Fani is likely to hit the State’s coast in Puri district on Friday evening.

As the sky remained overcast since morning, light rain has begun in many areas in the coastal belt. More than 8 lakh people were to be brought to cyclone shelters and other safer places by this evening, according to officials. Adequate arrangements have been made at the cyclone shelters.

The India Meteorological Department has predicted that Fani will make landfall at around 5.30 p.m. on Friday with wind speeds at 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph, accompanied by tidal surge of about 1.5 metres.

14 districts in Odisha which are likely to be affected by the cyclone are Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj.


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