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Phailin leaves trail of destruction, cyclone intensity weakens

Phailin leaves trail of destruction, cyclone intensity weakens

Gopalpur/Srikakulam: Severe cyclonic storm 'Phailin', which forced the evacuation of over eight lakh people, left a trail of destruction in coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and disrupted communication lines before weakening considerably Sunday.

Though seven deaths have been reported in Odisha, they took place as uprooted trees fell on locals before the cyclone made a landfall, Odisha Revenue and Disaster Minister S N Patro said in Bhubaneshwar.

There were no major casualties though Phailin was no less than a super cyclone as large-scale evacuation of people to storm shelters prevented a repeat of the 1999 super cyclone that claimed nearly 10,000 lives.

The National Disaster Response Force said no casualties have been reported so far due to the cyclone, which had pounded the Odisha coast yesterday, bringing in its wake torrential rains and wind speeds of over 200 kmph in the state and in neighbouring north coastal Andhra Pradesh.

"Our teams are out in both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for rescue and relief operations. So far we have not received any report of casualties anywhere," NDRF chief Krishna Chowdhary told PTI in New Delhi.

The cyclone left a trail of destruction with massive damage to property reported in Odisha. Thousands of trees and poles were uprooted in Bhubaneshwar, the Odisha Minister said.

Several big buildings were shaken in Parampur town, above 20 kms from Gopalpur, when the cyclone hit the area, Parto said.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vice-chairman M Shashidhar Reddy said, "Wind speed in Gopalpur where the eye of the cyclone passed through has come down to 90-100 kmph at 8 am. We are still trying to assess the devastation caused by the disaster."

Presently, the system is close to Phulwani in Kandhamal and is moving at a speed of 20 kms per hour, the IMD said.

"The system would move northwards for some more time and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm by noon today and into a deep depression by evening," said IMD Bhubaneshwar Director Sarat Sahu.

However, rains will continue in interior part of Odisha.

In Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, relief operations have been launched in full swing as heavy rains coupled with strong winds continue to lash most parts of the coastal area.

Srikakulam Collector Saurabh Gaur said 39 villages in the cyclone-affected areas are surrounded by water.

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