Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Sunday, October 13, 2013

After Shocks Of Cyclone: 20 Feared Dead, Cargo Ship Sunk

By M H Ahssan / INN Live

A cargo ship, MV Bingo, is believed to have sunk in the rough seas caused by cyclonic storm Phailin with its crew on a lifeboat last sighted east of Sagar in West Bengal, a top Kolkata Port Trust official told INN Live. “The Panama-registered cargo ship MV Bingo is feared sunk as the crew was sighted on a lifeboat yesterday east of Sagar, 25km from the coast,” KPT chairman RPS Kahlon told. 
A Dornier aircraft and hovercraft belonging to Coast Guard were searching for the ship which sailed with 19 Chinese and one Indonesian crew member on board, he added. The bulk cargo carrier carrying 8,000 tonnes of iron ore left for China from Sagar anchorage on October 11.

The government has said that 4200 telecommunication bases in Odisha and 100 in Andhra Pradesh have been affected due to cyclone Phailin. The government has begun to restore telecommunication to the affected areas with the help of NDRF teams. A cabinet secretary told INN Live that power stations have not been affected and distribution will start soon. This is expected to help in with rescue operations as well. A crisis management committee will sit for a review meeting at 3 pm to ascertain the extent of damage, the Cabinet Secretary added.

The preparedness and preventive measures seem to have been extremely effective, say officials. Cyclone Phailin has caused infrastructural damage and uprooted trees and caused flooding. However all indications look as though loss of human life has been minimized. 

2300 NDRF members are working on the ground in the worst affected areas.  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to hold a review meeting with district collectors from affected areas via video conferencing to best coordinate rescue and relief operations. Janak Raj Bhardwaj, ex-member NDMA speaking to INN Live, said that the entire country needed to be proud of the way evacuations and preventive measures were taken. 

A massive 8 lakh people were evacuated from coastal areas ahead of the cyclone. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vice-chairman M Shashidhar Reddy said as per preliminary reports, the situation in Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district appeared to be encouraging and the wind-speed has come down significantly and the National Disaster Response Force was trying to asses the damage there. “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,” he told. According to M Mohapatra, Scientist (Cyclone Warning) with the IMD, the cyclone started showing signs of weakening by 5.30 am on Sunday morning with the wind speed reducing to 160-170 kmph. “There are reports of trees, electric posts, telephone towers being uprooted and ‘kutcha’ houses being damaged in Ganjam and Berhampur districts. Communication lines were also disrupted”, he said.

Odisha MP Jay Panda has said that there are seven confirmed casualties in the state after cyclone Phailin, and added that the number could climb once there was a clearer estimation of damage in affected areas. Relief and rescue operations would begin once the winds died down, he added. Speaking to INN Live, Panda said that the number of casualties was much lower than what it may have been thanks to the fact that lakhs of people had been moved to cyclone relief centres. He added that severe damage had been reported in Odisha. “We can be sure that damage is much less, and is connected only to property. Relief will also be seen in full swing shortly”, he added.

Three deaths have been reported from Odisha, which is quoting government sources. There have been no casualities reported from Andhra Pradesh yet. Meanwhile, weather continues to be stormy in parts of both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, despite the worst of the storm being over. Heavy rain is also being reported in interior Odisha as the storm moves north-northwestwards. 

The MeT has downgraded Phailin, but it is still a ‘severe’ storm as opposed to being a ‘very severe’ storm. “Our teams are out in both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for rescue and relief operations”, NDRF chief Krishna Chowdhary was quoted. The NDRF chief said initial reports suggested that due to the impact of the cyclone, buildings and some communication towers were destroyed. 

Chowdhary said yesterday five persons lost their lives in Odisha due to collapse of a building but the incident took place before the landfall of cyclone. Earlier IMD director Sarat Sahu had said that there was still no contact with Gopalpur, which was hit by the worst of the storm.

Cyclone Phailin’s worst is over, according to the officials of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Speaking to INN Live, Prakash Mishra, Odisha DGP, said, “Gopalpur in Ganjam district has been the worst hit in Odisha. But no casualties have been reported.” He also said, “The first priority would be to clear the roads so that the rescue vehicles can come in. 

Then we will be restoring the power lines and the water supply.” However, there is still no trace of the 18-member ship that was stranded at a distance from Paradip port. A rescue ship of Indian Oil Corporation had been sent to rescue the ship but they have not found the ship or established communication with the crew on board, said Odisha DGP. The Met office in Odisha said that the severe cyclone had passed over Odisha and now it would pass in a north to north-west direction over the Indian mainland away from the coast.

The worst of Cyclone Phailin is over, but signs of its passage can be seen thanks to a trail of devastation. In Gopalpur, Odisha where Phailin made landfall, low lying areas are completely inundated thanks to storm surges that caused flooding as much as half a kilometre away from the coast. 

The winds of over 200 kmph had also uprooted trees, telephone and electricity poles, and torn off roofs in the area.  The storm is weakening, and focus is now shifting to rescue operations. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to hold a review meeting with all his district collecters in affected areas via video conference. Following the meeting, rescue officials will fan out to the most devastated areas. 

There are no new casualties reported so far. Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh was also hammered by Phailin there were no casualties reported so far. According to this report in the Times of India: While nearly 45,000 electricity poles were uprooted in Srikakulam district, east coast railway (ECoR) was forced to regulate more than 40 trains passing through the mainline connecting the cyclone affected areas due to partial damage to tracks. Railway sources said the tracks on the Chennai-Howrah line were partially damaged at Naupada and Sompeta, even as power supply to railway services was cut.

The concern authorities are estimating the actual loss after the end of after shocks of this cyclone effect. INN Live will update you the loss with actual information to you from time to time.
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