Titli kills 8 in Andhra, leaves Odisha by just uprooting trees

Amaravati/ Bhubaneshwar, Oct 11: The 'very severe' cyclonic storm 'Titli' left at least eight persons dead besides causing widespread damage in Srikakulam district Thursday, the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said.Scores of trees and power poles were uprooted as heavy rains lashed Srikakulam district under the influence of the storm, the SDMA said.Rainfall ranging from 2cm to 26cm was recorded in several mandals of the district even as road communication network was vastly affected.The State Road Transport Corporation suspended its bus services as uprooted trees caused roadblocks at several places.Transport Minister K Atchannaidu, who hails from Srikakulam, visited the affected mandals and is monitoring the situation.Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu conducted a tele-conference with district authorities and instructed them to remain on high alert."Every hour from now on is very crucial. Focus should be on relief measures and restoration of communication network. Care should be taken to prevent spread of communicable diseases," Naidu said.NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed in Srikakulam and neighbouring Vizianagaram districts to take up rescue and relief operations.The SDMA has set up a toll-free telephone no. 18004250101 at its Emergency Operations Centre to assist people in distress, while control rooms have been opened in the three north coastal districts.Meanwhile, Cyclone Titli uprooted trees and electric poles and damaged hutments in Odisha's Ganjam and Gajapati districts after making landfall early Thursday morning, but no loss of life was reported from any part of the state, officials said. The cyclone also triggered heavy to very heavy rainfall in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts of Odisha, causing minor damage to power and communication."There has been no major damage or report of casualty received from any part of the state so far. Some destruction was reported from Ganjam and Gajapati districts," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said. Power supply and telephone links got disrupted and road communication snapped due to uprooted trees at many places of Gajapati district, the SRC said. Efforts are on to clear roads blocked by uprooted trees and restore power supply in affected areas at the earliest, he said. In all, eight districts -- Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore -- have been affected by "very severe cyclone Titli", he said.Road communication between Paralakhemundi and Mohana and some other block headquarters in Gajapati had been disrupted under the impact of the cyclone, he said.In Ganjam, reports of damage to hutments and other structures and uprooting of trees were received from some areas, the SRC said. An East Coast Railway (ECoR) official said train services remained suspended between Khurda Road and Vizianagram from both directions since 10 pm on Wednesday. He said the Palasa station in Andhra Pradesh was damaged and railway officials will reach there shortly. Train services on the route are likely to resume by Thursday night, he added.According to a latest report by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), cyclone Titli made the landfall between 4.30 and 5.30 am in southwest coast of Gopalpur near Palasa in Andhra Pradesh with an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph. The landfall process was complete and "the centre of eye of cyclone Titli lies over the land," the IMD said. The system is now moving northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and it will weaken gradually, it said.An hour after the landfall, Gopalpur in Odisha reported surface wind at 126 kmph, Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh recorded wind speed of 56 kmph. Director of Meteorological (MeT) Centre Bhubaneswar H R Biswas said the "very severe cyclonic storm" (VSCS) is being monitored by the coastal Doppler Weather Radars at Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur and Paradip.As part of its pre-cyclone preparedness, the Odisha government evacuated over three lakh people living in low-lying areas of the five coastal districts ahead of the landfall.They were accommodated in 1,112 cyclone shelters.Altogether, 105 pregnant women in Ganjam district and 18 in Jagatsinghpur have been shifted to hospitals, Sethi said.He said 13 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been deployed at several places along