Cyclone triggers flood fear in Odisha, Andhra
Rivers in both states are in full spate a day after Cyclone Titli hit their coasts
BHUBANESWAR/VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh and Odisha stared at a possible flood threat a day after Cyclone Titli struck their coasts, with rivers and streams in full spate in both states following heavy rain in several districts.
At least 12 people were killed across both states, officials said, after Cyclone Titli made landfall early on Thursday, disrupting road and telecommunications networks as well as power and water supply.
Ganjam district of Odisha was the worst affected while Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh was hit hard by the cyclone that dumped heavy rain in coastal areas.
Odisha’s special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said G Udaygiri of Kandhamal district recorded the maximum rainfall of 351 mm under the impact of the cyclonic storm that is now stationed over Kandhamal-Angul districts. By Friday night, the system is expected to gradually move north-eastwards to West Bengal.
Rail traffic was badly affected as a tree fell on the tracks between Ambadala and Dahikhala in Odisha’s Rayagada district. Three long-distance trains --- Santragachi-Chennai Express, Gandhidham Express and Tirupati-Bilaspur Express --- were halted at different stations in Rayagada.
As many as 16 rural water supply schemes in Andhra Pradesh were damaged, affecting the supply of drinking water to several villages. Restoration work is expected to begin on Friday.
Power supply infrastructure also suffered heavy damage, leading to the disruption of supply in 4,319 villages and six municipal towns in Srikakulam district. The telecommunication network was damaged at 112 sites due to high-speed winds in the district.
The high-speed cyclonic winds did not wreak much damage in Ganjam district but the resultant rain led to flooding in Bhanjanagar block of the district.
Rivers Rushikulya and Vansadhara have been flowing above the danger level at three places in Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada since Thursday evening. In Balasore, river Jalaka continued to flow six metres above the danger level due to the incessant rain.
The water was flowing fivefeet above Atharnala bridge cutting communication to as many as eight panchayats of Mohana block of Gajapati, which recorded 315mm of rain, the highest in Odisha since Thursday.
The rising water level of the Vamsadhara, which also passes through Andhra Pradesh, has turned the situation grim in the southern state as well.
A third-level warning was issued on Thursday at 5pm at Gotta Barrage with inflows in the Vamsadhara recorded at 1,23,042 cusecs, a bulletin of the Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) said.
A flood situation prevailed in Kothuru, Heera and Jalamuru mandals of Srikakulam downstream. Low lying areas such as Palasa and Vajrapu Kothuru remained waterlogged with sea water. Heeramandalam in Srikakulam district received the highest rainfall of 153mm.
Srikakulam collector K Dhananjaya Reddy told reporters the district administration was preparing to evacuate people from vulnerable areas and also focusing on sanitation and public health.
Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, camping in Srikakulam, carried an aerial survey on Friday of cyclone-affected areas. He announced an ex-gratia payment for the families of eight people, who died during the cyclone on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Naidu and enquired about the conditions in the cyclone-hit north coastal Andhra region. The state government is expected to seek central assistance.
Six fishermen were swept away at sea and two people died in Andhra Pradesh’s Sarigujjula mandal of Srikakulam district when the cyclone hit the coast. The first report of a casualty from Odisha came from Ganjam district where a minor girl died after an uprooted tree fell on her house, leading to the collapse of a portion of its wall.
Officials monitoring the situation said Rajeswari Naik, a student of Class 8 in K Nuagaon area of Chikiti block, died instantly while her parents suffered injuries. However, special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said the report was being verified. In another incident in Ganjam, the body of a man who was swept away in Gajalbadi panchayat was recovered on Friday a few metres from his house.
Six people of a family went missing on Thursday after their house was swept away by the waters of the Adangi river in Bhutapankal village. In two separate incidents, two men were swept away in Nayagarh district.
A woman stands near the debris of her house that was damaged by Cyclone Titli in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam on Friday.