. Earth Science News .

Red alert issued as massive cyclone bears down on India
by Staff Writers
Bhubaneswar, India (AFP) Oct 12, 2013

440,000 evacuated ahead of India cyclone: official
New Delhi (AFP) Oct 12, 2013 - Nearly half a million people have been evacuated from India's impoverished east coast ahead of a massive cyclone expected to make landfall on Saturday evening, disaster officials said.

"The total is 4.4 lakh (440,000 evacuations) in all this," Marri Shashidhar Reddy, vice-chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, told a news conference ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Phailin.

"We will be on a war footing" when the cyclone arrives, he told reporters in the capital New Delhi.

Disaster relief workers were rushing to move people from their flimsy shelters out of the way of the path of the cyclone due to hit the state of Orissa and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Sometimes authorities were having to "use force" to get reluctant villagers to leave their homes despite the already lashing rains and strong winds, he added.

The evacuation was the third largest in India's history after 650,000 people were evacuated in Andhra Pradesh in 1990 out of the way of a powerful cyclone and 550,000 in 2009 in the same state due to flooding, Reddy said.

Streams of people were leaving their homes, carrying their possessions on their backs, as rains lashed the ground.

Reddy said that the power sector and agriculture would be worst affected by the storm.

"Crops will certainly be badly affected," he said.

India issued a red alert as a massive cyclone bore down on the east coast Saturday, threatening widespread destruction and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

Cyclone Phailin was packing gusts of up to 240 kilometres per hour (150 miles per hour) and had the potential to be the most powerful storm to hit the area in 14 years.

"The very severe cyclonic storm Phailin is moving menacingly towards the coast," special relief commissioner for the state of Orissa, Pradipta Mohapatra, said.

Authorities said they expected a three-metre (10-foot) storm surge when the cyclone hits in the early evening,

Heavy waves were already pounding the coast and trees were bent double by powerful winds ahead of the cyclone's arrival.

Tying up his boat on the coast of Orissa, 60-year-old fisherman Tonka Rao said he was worried as he eyed the building waves.

"This boat cost 400,000 rupees ($6,500). I don't want to lose it," he told AFP before taking shelter.

At least 250,000 people from low-lying areas in coastal districts have been evacuated to shelters, many of them taking their belongings with them as they hunkered down to sit out the storm.

Authorities were rushing to get people out of the storm's path but some were reluctant to move.

"We've been instructed by the government to use force in case people resist," said Mohapatra, the Orissa special relief commissioner.

A 300-strong team of army doctors, engineers and rescue workers was in Orissa and fanning out to areas expected to be worst hit by the storm, Mohapatra said.

The Indian Red Cross Society also had disaster response teams ready while the air force put planes and helicopters on standby.

Heavy rain was already lashing Orissa and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, also due to be hit by the storm.

The US Navy's Joint Typhoon Centre said gusts could reach as high as 315 kilometres an hour, while London-based Tropical Storm Risk put Phailin in its most severe "super cyclone" category.

The cyclone is set to strike the same coastal area dotted with flimsy huts and shanties that was hit by a powerful storm in 1999 that killed more than 8,000 people.

The high winds could carry "huge objects", warned Laxman Singh Rathore, India's Director General of Meteorology.

"The storm has high damage potential," he added.

The Indian Meteorological Department issued a so called "red message" warning of the "very severe" cyclone's impending arrival.

Satellite photos showed an intimidating cloud mass barreling across the Bay of Bengal with forecasters saying the danger zone was about 150 kilometres (90 miles) wide.

Rathore warned of widespread crop damage in impoverished Orissa, which relies heavily on agriculture.

It took years for crop yields to recover after soil was contaminated by saltwater during the 1999 cyclone, leaving the state dependent on aid.

In Orissa's capital, panic buying saw many shops run low on food.

The 1999 cyclone had higher wind speeds and a larger storm surge -- six metres -- than being currently predicted by the Indian weather office.

But "with the horrendous experience of 1999 still haunting them, no one wants to take anything for granted", retired government officer Yudhistir Mohanty said.

Some foreign forecasters have suggested India's weather office is underestimating the power of Phailin, which means "sapphire" in Thai.

A government report on the 1999 disaster put the death toll at 8,243 and said 445,000 livestock perished.

Authorities have said they are better prepared this time around.

The Orissa government said it was setting a "zero casualty target" in the state of close to 40 million people and was seeking "100 percent" evacuation of people in the worst-affected areas.

Cyclones are a common occurrence in the Bay of Bengal at the end of the steamy monsoon season, when sea temperatures are at their warmest.

A cyclone that struck Bangladesh in 1970 killed hundreds of thousands of people.



Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Typhoon Fitow kills 10 in east China province
Beijing (AFP) Oct 09, 2013
Ten people have died after a typhoon slammed into China's east coast, including a family of three who were all killed by electric shocks, state media reported Wednesday. Five others are still missing after Typhoon Fitow brought heavy rains to Zhejiang province, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local authorities. Fitow made landfall early Monday, affecting about seven million people ... read more

European satellites included in test of search-and-rescue system

Smart smoke alarm can speak, warn of smoke, carbon monoxide

Indonesia to boost patrols against people smugglers

Satellite flood maps reach crisis teams via Internet

Disney Research develops algorithm for rendering 3-D tactile features on touch surfaces

World's Largest Solar Sail, Sunjammer, Completes Test

Making household items on 3D printer said greener than factory versions

Lockheed Martin and Concord Blue to Deploy Advanced Gasification Technology Globally

Fishermen, farmers secure livelihoods ahead of Indian cyclone

More than 500 million people might face increasing water scarcity

University teams with industry to build deep-sea submersible

Improving water security with blue, green, and gray water

Greenpeace boss admits surprise at harsh Russian response

Brazil to start work on new Antarctic base next year

US shutdown puts freeze on Antarctic research

Government shutdown threatens U.S. antarctic research

New potential for nutrient-rich prairie fruits

European retailers embrace crooked fruit, ugly veggies

Google Street View is new arm against alien species

McGill discovery should save wheat farmers millions of dollars

Strong quake strikes near Crete, material damage reported

Red alert issued as massive cyclone bears down on India

Quake hits southwest Pakistan: officials

First test of Venice's 5.4 billion euro flood barriers

Islamists step up attacks in north Mali

Ethiopia says no plans to withdraw troops from Somalia

'Armed bandits' kill Niger soldier, wound three others in Nigeria: official

Nigeria bombs Boko Haram 'camp' near site of massacre

Longer life for humans linked to further loss of endangered species

Study suggests women, not men, created much of ancient cave art

Council of Europe attacks genetic procedure

Ancient sagas show Vikings more social, less warlike

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement