Powerful Cyclone Fani Kills Almost 30 People in India, Bangladesh

The cyclone, which entered Bangladesh through the southwestern region earlier on Saturday morning, also wounded several people even though it weakened as it moved over land in Bangladesh.

Cyclone Fani caused more than $173 million (€155 million) worth of damage to the power infrastructure in eastern India, according to preliminary reports.

Cyclone tracker Tropical Storm Risk put Cyclone Fani as a powerful category four storm on a scale of one to five.

Some 400,000 people have been taken to shelters, Bangladeshi officials told AFP.

Users can also donate using Paytm App to assist relief and rehabilitation efforts in Odisha.

Officials said control rooms set up in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country were in constant touch with the local authorities where thousands of volunteers joined hands with government officials in carrying out the evacuation and salvage campaign.

A red alert has been issued in coastal areas and fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea. Reports from Jajpur, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal districts said power supply was partially reported.

India's meteorological department says storms of such ferocity can lead to "total destruction of thatched houses", flooding of escape routes and "phenomenal seas with wave heights more than 14m". "The administration is yet to reach us with relief", said the the resident of a village near Pipli in Puri district. No loss of life or any injury has been reported so far.

The cyclone blew away mud houses, utility towers and lakhs of trees as it ripped through Odisha with wind speeds of more than 200 kmph. The cities that are mostly affected are Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Sandehskhali and Contai. Seaports have been ordered shut.

Tornado and cyclones, killing hundreds of people every year, are common occurrences in Bangladesh.

Over 1 million people across Odisha were evacuated and relocated to camps for temporary staying because of the devastating cyclone.

More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed and entire villages submerged in the South Asian country. Another woman, age 65, died after a suspected heart attack at a cyclone shelter, PTI reported.

According to chief secretary A P Padhi, 21 of the 34 deaths were registered in Puri district, where the storm made a landfall on Friday, flattening fragile houses, uprooting scores of trees, electric poles and mobile towers.

Army and air force units are also on standby in the states of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

However, under the influence of the cyclonic storm, the sky remains overcast.

The Indian Coast Guard has deployed its assets, including ships and a helicopter, in search- and-rescue operations in Odisha after Cyclone Fani pummelled the coastal state on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the worst-affected areas in Puri on Monday morning to review the restoration work.

  • Leroy Wright