Dead in Andhra's Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram; Power, Communication Hit in Both Di

2 killed as Cyclone Titli smashes eastern India

A severe cyclone damaged homes and blew down trees and power poles in eastern India, where nine people were killed and about 300,000 forced to move to higher ground.

Officials in Odisha evacuated over 300,000 people, suspended operations at the port of Paradip and cancelled many trains and flights on Wednesday.

Cyclone Titli has hit the coast of Gopalpur in Odisha with wind speed reaching 140-150 kmph. "Land fall is expected at 5.30 am tomorrow (Thursday) in south Odisha", he said.

Director of the metereological centre at Bhubaneswar, HR Biswas, said heavy to very heavy rainfall will continue to pound parts of the state, including Balasore, Bhadrak and Dhenkanal districts, till Saturday.

About three lakh people were shifted from low-lying and vulnerable areas in Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Khordha districts.

The very severe cyclonic storm Titli developed over the west-central Bay of Bengal and moved north-westwards with a speed of about 17 kmph during the last 6 hours.

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The cyclone has "weakened into a deep depression", triggering incessant rainfall in the state, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.

Thirteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force, as well as personnel from the fire brigade, remain deployed in several areas of Odisha as the state stares at a possible flood situation.

Speaking to TNM, Vizianagaram Superintendent of Police G Pala Raju said, "As far as this district is concerned, two mandals, Gummalakshmipuram and Parvathipuram, were affected the most".

In a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Chief Secretary A P Padhi informed that the state has taken precautions to deal with the situation. In view of adverse weather conditions, it has advised hoisting of local warning signal LW-4 at all ports of Odisha. All the 836 cyclone and flood shelters have also been kept prepared and adequate relief materials arranged, he said.

Cyclone "Titli" triggered heavy to very heavy rainfall in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts of Odisha, while damage of hutments and asbestos-roofed houses, street lights, road blockade due to uprooted trees were reported from Ganjam.

The CM after reviewing the situation asked the concerned district Collectors to expedite rescue operations and provide cooked food to the affected people for the next 7 days.

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