Oct 12, 2013 | Extinction Protocol
October 12, 2013 – INDIA – As many as 500,000 people in India have been evacuated as a massive cyclone sweeps through the Bay of Bengal towards the east coast. Cyclone Phailin, categorized as “very severe” by weather forecasters, is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Saturday evening.
The Meteorological Department has predicted the storm will bring winds of up to 220km/h (136mph). A super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa. But officials say this time they are better prepared, the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Orissa reports. Officials said Cyclone Phailin was expected to make landfall close to the city of Gopalpur (Orissa state), bringing a storm surge of at least 3m (10ft) that was likely to cause “extensive damage” to mud houses on the coast. “No-one will be allowed to stay in mud and thatched houses in the coastal areas,” said Orissa’s Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patra. The army is on standby in the two states for emergency and relief operations. Officials said helicopters and food packages were ready to be dropped in the storm-affected areas. Meanwhile, the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre predicted that Phailin could produce gusts of up to 296km/h (184 mph), while the London-based Tropical Storm Risk classified Phailin as a Category Five storm – the most powerful.
Janmejay Mohapatra, a resident of Orissa state capital Bhubaneswar, said it was too dangerous to go out now, as trees were down and debris was flying everywhere. Cyclone Phailin is expected to be the biggest storm to hit the region for 14 years. “Already the rain is very heavy and the wind is gusting at 100-120km an hour,” he told the BBC. “The phone lines are down where I am and we have no electricity.” –BBC