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People wait for food, water, medical aid, and assistance to rebuild homes
Author: Ashis Senapati
It’s almost a month since Cyclone Phailin subsided and the government of Odisha patted itself for averting many deaths through timely warning and disaster preparedness. But the government has not been so prompt in providing relief and rehabilitation to those who survived the cyclone and the subsequent floods. Post-disaster monitoring is only just beginning in the worst-affected parts of Odisha.
Haiyan, which has claimed over 10,000 lives, is reportedly one of the strongest storms on record
Author: Vani Manocha
Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed over 10,000 lives in Philippines, reached Vietnam and China on Monday, according to news reports. The typhoon has crashed into Philippines on Friday morning and claimed many lives. Almost 600,000 people have been evacuated in Vietnam. An orange alert, the second-highest warning in its weather system, has been issued in China, according to media reports.
Cyclone Phailin has not taken many lives but has left behind a trail of destruction that severely cripples people’s livelihood. What did it take to save so many lives in the face of a potential killer? A Down To Earth analysis with a rider: should saving lives be the only mission of disaster preparedness?
Author: Alok Gupta, Ashis Senapati, Raghuram Puvvada, Jyotsna Singh, Richard Mahapatra
On the night of October 12, when cyclone Phailin crashed into Odisha, Basanti Jena of Boitalupatana village in Jajpur district relived the super cyclone of 1999 that had battered the state and killed about 10,000 people. The following morning, when she emerged from her house, she sighed with relief: no one in her village had died. Like Jena, the entire country had feared the worst. Phailin, with winds of more than 200 kilometres per hour, was the second fierce cyclone to hit India in 14 years. But it killed only a few–22 by the state government’s reckoning.
200 people in Ganjam get diarrhoea after drinking contaminated water
Author: Ashis Senapati
People trapped in cyclone- and flood-affected areas of Odisha are now facing another emergency-acute drinking water shortage.
Many villages near tourist sites in the state are dependent on tourism
Author: Ashis Senapati
Cyclone Phailin that hit Odisha on October 12 and the floods which followed have taken a heavy toll on tourism in the state which is already reeling under Maoist violence.
Residents of Praharajpur say the mangrove forest they nurtured contained damage to the coastal village
Author: Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava
As the Centre and the state governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh pat their backs for containing loss of lives during cyclone Phailin, a share of credit should also go to the people who had prepared their own safety nets against such calamities. While early warning and effective evacuation has definitely proved to be a game changer for the governments this time, the efforts of communities to protect mangroves at a few places in the coastal belt might also have played a major role in bringing down the damage.
The dead make a better story than the living. Failure of media to continue reporting Phailin will take the pressure off administration to provide relief and rehabilitation
Author: Amit Baruah
The feared deaths from cyclone Phailin didn’t happen due to both prediction and preparation, but the storm is still to abate for the millions of people now facing the brunt of floods in Odisha’s Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts.
The severe cyclone has crossed nine states since it landed in Gopalpur on October 12
As government assesses the devastation caused by severe cyclone Phailin in Odisha, it is still alive, though in a significantly weakened state. It is now in eastern Nepal. Since its landfall in Gopalpur on October 12 night, it has crossed over nine states and neighbouring Nepal where it will dissipate. Its trail of devastation is also as wide, though it varies in degree
People deny receiving any supply materials, aid
Author: Ashis Senapati
Around 1.6 million people from villages in cyclone-hit Odisha continue to battle the floods triggered by incessant rain that followed the cyclone. The rivers Budhabalanga, Bansadhara, Baitarani, Bramahani, Kani and Rushikulya are in spate and have brought more misery to homeless people. The districts reeling under flood are Kendrapada, Balesore, Bhadrak, Ganjam , Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj.
Improvements in weather forecasting and disaster preparedness, and lessons learnt from 1999, made all the difference
Author: Jyotsna Singh
For three to four days before cyclone Phailin hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, memories of the 1999 super cyclone made authorities and people fearful of what the cyclone would bring. The super cyclone devastated vast stretches of the state and so do did Phailin. But there is a big difference between what happened then and now–over 10,000 people were killed in Odisha in October 1999, while Phailin's toll was less than 30.
Families in severely affected villages to get rations and cash assistance
Author: Soma Basu
Cyclone Phailin that hit Odisha on Saturday did not claim many lives, but nonetheless crippled farmers across the state by damaging about 0.6 million hectares (ha) of agricultural land, of which 0.5 million hectares had ripe paddy.
Officials promise to restore power in a week, but it may take much longer
Author: Ashis Senapati
Phailin has left around 10,000 villages in the coastal districts of Odisha in the dark. About 200,000 people live in the cyclone-impacted districts–Ganjam, Puri, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Cuttack, Gajapati, Naragarh and Khordha.
Thousands of people are trapped in Balasore district, which is far from areas hit by cyclone
Author: Alok Gupta
After the cyclone, the National Disaster Management Authority and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel are battling floods. The situation is critical in Balasore district's Sindhia and Fariki villages in Remuna block. These areas are far from where cyclone Phailin made a landfall.
Cyclone Phailin leaves behind a trail of destruction; people complain they have received no relief supply
Author: Ashis Senapati
The death toll in Odisha, which was struck by cyclone Phailin on Saturday night, was contained to18 because of timely evacuation of people residing in seaside areas and disaster preparedness on part of government authorities. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik termed Phailin as “zero-loss of life” cyclone; the state government evacuated nearly 700,000 people from seaside villages to safer places.
People say it was lessons from 1999 super cyclone and media warnings that helped save lives during cyclone Phailin
Author: Alok Gupta
While government authorities patted themselves over the successful evacuation of people from seaside areas before cyclone Phailin struck and took credit for minimising loss of lives, affected residents say such claims are not entirely correct. They say it is lessons learnt from the 1999 super cyclone, media hype and a bit of government support that saved lives.
It will continue ravage the coastal districts till early morning; scale of devastation will be known by late Sunday morning
Author: Richard Mahapatra
Severe cyclonic storm Phailin struck Odisha coast at 9.15 pm at a speed of 210 km per hour. It made landfall at Gopalpur, a town already cut off from the state’s government communication channel. After a delay of about an hour, the India Meteorological Department made the announcement in Delhi. The cyclone is 250 km wide and has been carrying with it moisture sucked from an area half the size of India. It is the second worst cyclone to hit Odisha in 14 years.
Activists say water level in dam reservoir dangerously high even after letting out water through sluice gates
Author: Sudeep Kumar Guru
Super cyclone Phailin hits Odisha coast this evening. While it is likely to cause extensive damage, it may also put a question mark over water management of Hirakud dam. As heavy downpour is predicted in the upper catchments of the Mahanadi river in Chhatisagarh, it is testing time for the dam authority. Dam officials are, however, confident that the reservoir has sufficient space to store enough water in case there is heavy rain in the upper catchment of the Mahanadi river.
Some climate models predict two-to seven-fold increase in the frequency of Hurricane Katrina magnitude events for a 1°C rise in global temperature
Author: Vibha Varshney
The severity of cyclone Phailin has once again triggered speculations about whether it is linked to climate change. But the impact of climate change on intensity and frequency of cyclones is not understood well and so far not been proved conclusively. It has been observed that there is an increase in numbers and proportion of hurricanes of the category 4 and 5 globally since 1970 with a simultaneous decrease in the total number of cyclones and cyclone days.
Where India Met office differs from private forecasters
Author: Aparna Pallavi
Akshay Deoras, Nagpur-based severe weather forecaster from METD Weather, a private weather forecast firm, says that Phailin cyclone is category 5 on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which indicates storms with wind speeds exceeding 251 km per hour. “It is difficult to predict the exact wind speeds,” says he. “But a wind-speed of 260 km per hour can be expected at landfall (time when the eye of the cyclone reaches land) in Gopalpur and Behrampur in Odisha.
Storm winds moving at speed of over 200 km/hr head to districts that bore the brunt of 1999 super cyclone
Author: Ashis Senapati
Almost all the 468 seaside villages of Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Ganjam and Khurdha in Odisha wore a deserted look on Saturday as cyclone Phailin approached the coast of Odisha. With wind speed steadily picking up and with incessant downpour, people’s worst fears may come true on Saturday evening, the expected time of Phailin’s landfall.
Experts in the West say Phailin is category 5 tropical cyclone, and may prove to be more devastating than even Hurricane Katrina
Author: Soma Basu
Both London-based Tropical Storm and the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre have forecast winds reaching up to 315 km per hour on landfall, which would make Phailin a category 5 storm–the most powerful. India Meteorological Department has, however, were daying till Friday that the cyclone would not be so severe.
Forests that shielded seaside villages from earlier super cyclone have been chopped down for proposed steel plant
Author: Ashis Senapati
Panic gripped sea side villages of Nuagaon, Noliasahi, Polanga, Gadakujang and other villages on Friday near the Jatadhari river mouth at the proposed steel plant site of Posco in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha as cyclonic storm Phailin approached the state. Once the very mention of these villages conjured up images of virgin mangroves, cashew nut, betel vines, fruit bearing trees and casuarina forests. Today, those verdant visions are fading fast as the authorities have chopped thousands of trees for the construction of a steel plant of the South Korean steel company Posco.
As Odisha braces for super cyclone Phailin, a coastal village hopes the mangrove it nurtured will protect their homes
Author: Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava
As Odisha braces for a super cyclone that is likely to make a landfall on Saturday evening, thousands of villagers are being evacuated to shelter homes. Some of them are also leaving behind the mangrove forests which they believe have rescued them from cyclones and storms in the past.
Storm winds moving at speed of over 200 km/hr head to districts that bore the brunt of 1999 super cyclone
Author: T N Vijayalakshmi, Ashis Senapati
The deep depression that had formed over the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a super cyclone; it is moving towards the Odisha and Andhra coast at the speed of over 200 km per hour. The cyclonic storm is expected to make a landfall on Saturday evening. “The very severe cyclonic storm, Phailin over east-central Bay of Bengal remained stationery and lay centred at 8.30 hrs (IST) 2013 near latitude 16.00N and longitude 88.50E, about 520 km south-southeast of Paradip, 530km south-east of Gopalpur, and 530km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam,” the alert from India Meteorological Department (IMD) in the morning said. Later in the day, the cyclone was declared a super cyclone.
All two-storey government and NGO buildings, schools and colleges declared cyclone shelters
Author: Ashis Senapati
Thousands of people living in coastal villages of Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Ganjam in Odisha started heading for safe areas on Friday as cyclone Phailin moved towards the state. The cyclonic storm Phailin over Bay of Bengal intensified and is all set to make a landfall close to Gopalpur in Odisha at a speed of at least 215km per hour.
26 of the 35 deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms
Author: Soma Basu
A satellite-based measure of Phailin’s (pronounced 'pie-reen', not 'pie-leen', the Thai word for sapphire) strength is estimated as the storm’s central pressure at 910.7 millibars, with sustained winds of 175 mph (280 kmph). If those numbers were verified by official forecast agencies, they would place Phailin at par with 2005's Hurricane Katrina, and break the record for the most intense cyclone in Indian Ocean's recorded history, says weather historian Christopher Burt.
M R Ramesh Kumar from National Institute of Oceanography on Phailin and the cyclone vulnerability of Bay of Bengal
Author: Soma Basu
Tropical cyclones are among the most destructive natural disasters of the world. About seven per cent of the global tropical cyclones take form in the north parts of the Indian Ocean. Cyclone Phailin, now declared a super cyclone of size matching Hurricane Katrina, may prove to be as devastating as the 1999 super cyclone of Odisha in which thousands lost their lives. M R Ramesh Kumar, chief scientist and coordinator of Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research of physical oceanography division, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, spoke to Soma Basu about Phailin and the cyclone vulnerability of Bay of Bengal. Edited excerpts:
Select articles, studies and documents that throw light on super cyclone of 1999 and what makes Odisha so disaster-prone
  • State level vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategies: a case study of Orissa
  • Examining the storm protection services of mangroves of Orissa during the 1999 cyclone
  • Importance of upper ocean heat content in the intensification and translation speed of cyclones over the Bay of Bengal
  • Mangroves protected villages and reduced death toll during Indian super cyclone
  • Storm protection by mangroves in Orissa: an analysis of the 1999 super cyclone
  • Facing sudden impact (Experience of Orissa super cyclone of 1999)
  • Evaluation study of rehabilitation & reconstruction process in post super cyclone, Orissa
  • An empirical model for predicting the decay of tropical cyclone wind speed after landfall over the Indian region
  • Study on super cyclone in Orissa 1999 with special reference to early warning system
  • Epidemiology of tropical cyclones: The dynamics of disaster, disease, and development
  • Tropical cyclones in a warmer world
  • Hydro-meteorological inventory of Orissa cyclones
      • Slamming government's claims that relief measures are in place, villagers have said that they have not received any help

      • Final assessment of damage is still on. The severe cyclone flattened 200,000 homes and inundated 14,515 villages with water.

      • R S Gopalan, director of agriculture in Odisha government, said flashfloods in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts damaged 0.1 million hectares of agricultural land

      • Phailin has left around 10,000 villages in the coastal districts of Odisha in the dark

      • Water, power and other essential services being restored slowly in areas hit by Phailin

      • Authorities say it might take long to restore normalcy in affected parts of Odisha

      • Odisha's Budha Balanga and Subernarekha rivers in spate after heavy downpour

      • Balasore's Sindhia and Fariki villages reportedly cut off from roads because of flooding, situation critical 

      • Government planning to send a few contingents of National Disaster Response Force to Balasore

      • About 10,000 affected villages in Ganjam, Puri, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Cuttack, Gajapati, Naragarh and Khordha districts of Odisha are currently without electricity

      • Around 155,000 houses have collapsed in Ganjam district

      • About 20,000 mud-walled thatched houses damaged in Kendrapada district

      • Revenue minister says 500,000 ha land impacted by cyclone

      • Rivers in spate. Baitarani river has crossed danger level, says state relief commissioner

      • Reports from Odisha revenue department say coastal villages in Kendrapada still cut off

      • IMD forecasts heavy rainfall. Hirakud dam reservoir may receive more water. State government to take stock by afternoon

      • Latest from Met department. Phailin is a severe cyclone. It is 50 km from Sambalpur

      • 200,000 houses damaged, says revenue department

      • Damage to property and farms similar to the damage caused by 1999 super cyclone

      • 38 towns impacted by cyclone Phailin

      • 20,000 villages impacted by cyclone Phailin

      • More than eight million people affected

      • 30 per cent agricultural land in Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur districts destroyed by saline water ingress 

      • 50 people feared dead, loss of infrastructure and propoerty likely in crores of rupees

      • Lake Chilka is overflowing and 22 villages have been submerged

      • Scale of devastation may be known later in the day

      • Mahanadi embankment in Astaranga in Puri breached, 50 villages washed away

      • Evacuation preceding Phailin is the fastest ever in India, 7 lakh people evacuated

      • 10 ft (3 metre) storm surge hits Gopalpur, government to take up assessment of damage tomorrow morning

      • Eye of Phailin moves over Gopalpur on Odisha coast, wind speed at present is 200 km and is expected to increase

      • It is not a super cyclone. Devastation will depend on severity of rain

      • Very severe storm expected to remain for six hours

      • India Met Department says Phailin landfall is delayed, which could mean either its intensity reduces or the cyclone stays near coast for long like in 1999

      • Officials say cyclone has hit Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh

      • Water gushes 2 km inside Astranga in Puri. Four villages severly affected

      • Three deaths confirmed officially; one each in Bhubaneswar, Ganjam and Jagatsinghpur

      • Complete blackout in Bhubaneswar. Heavy rains lash city. Trees uprooted, one woman killed

      • Control rooms of state government authorities out of reach or kept busy for long

      • Landfall may happen earlier than predicted

      • Sea water enters Paradip, 18 fishermen missing off Paradip coast, coastguard give up their search in rough sea 

      • Power cut and evening landfall to affect rescue work

      • Villages inundated by swelling sea, water enters Astaranga in Puri and lake Chilka

      • Wind speed increases to 140km/hour in Gopalpur

      • Gopalpur and Behrampur towns report largescale tree uprroting and house collapse, 13 dead

      • Cyclone is 450 km wide, already inside Odisha

      • Discharge from rivers like Mahanadi drastically reduces. Floodwater impacts 123 villages.

      • About 11 million people likely to be affected, 80 percent in Odisha.

      • Zig zag wind flow starts, experts cite this as nearing of Phailin's landfall. 

      • Gopalpur completely deserted as several evacuated to safer areas

      • Sure sign of imminent landfall, visibility in coastal areas down to 80m radius

      • Two-third of Odisha under heavy cloud 

      • Wind speed increases to 130km/hr, sea waves lash houses in Puri

      • Two more reported dead in Jagatsinghpur district, 50 villages in state cut off

      • Army takes charge of matters. Close to 3,000 persons with specialized disaster management training enter 5 Odisha distrcits

      • Five die after house collapse and tree uprooting in Puri and Cuttack

      • Ganjam district will be the worst affected, says National Disaster Management Authority 

      • Many villages in Kendrapada coast cut off

      • Railways suspends services in coastal Odisha, whole state to be affected

      • Flood alert in Sambalpur as Hirakud dam fills up to maximum level. There is also heavy rainfall in its catchment as cyclone approaches.

      • Power cut enforced in coastal districts of Odisha

      • IMD sticks to its 'very severe cyclone' forecast. Wind speed reaches 80km/hr on Odisha coast 

      • Senior regional directors of the Regional Office of Health and Family Welfare at Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad have been asked to be in touch with their respective state governments

      • Ershama which suffered maximum damage in 1999 super cyclone has reported a wind speed of 90km/hr

      • Arrangements have been made to meet immediate requirement of essential drugs from the stores of MSO and that of the three Central government hospitals

      • National Institute Mental Health and Allied Sciences has kept ready three psycho-social teams to be deployed at short notice

      • Four public health teams have been constituted from NCDC and AIIH&PH for rapid health assessment

      • 30 member quick response medical team has been constituted from Central government hospitals and CGHS to move to affected areas at short notice

      • First contingent of the National Disaster Relief Force moves to Jagatsingpur district

      • Bhubaneswar airport may be closed tomorrow as it becomes the vital link for relief and enforcement

      • Defence officials have prepared themselves on a war footing. Six defence bases ready with more than 30 aircrafts and helicopters. IAF has pressed into service two C130J Super Hercules aircraft, 18 helicopters, including Mi -17V5 and two AN-32s to the effort and the aircraft

      • Officials say Ganjam and Gajapati districts in Odisha are likely to be hit the hardest

      • IMD has predicted a storm surge of 2.5 metre to 3.0 metre in Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts

      • Mass evacuation on as super cyclone Phailin is expected to hit coastal Odisha on Saturday

      • Thousands of villagers in Odisha and Andhra heading for safe areas

      • Authorities have moved more than 40,000 people from low-lying villages of Odisha and as many as 64,000 people from north coastal districts of Srikakvlam, Vizianagram and Visakapatnam on Andhra

      • A special officer has been sent to all the coastal districts to oversee operations. We have directed the district collector and police to remain alert, Andhra Pradesh revenue minister Raghuveera Reddy said


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