Cyclone Fani: India evacuates over 1 million people in Odisha ahead of cyclone’ landfall

India has evacuated over one million people on Friday living on the outskirts of Konark in the eastern state of Odisha, ahead of a severe cyclone Fani which, reportedly, expected to make landfall on Friday’s afternoon, Indian government officials said today.

According to Reuters news reports, cyclone storm Fani has been churning up the Bay of Bengal, is currently at 150 km northeast of the Hindu temple town of Puri, the eastern state of Odisha, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked his officials to stay in touch with the states regarding risk from cyclone Fani.

Fani was expected to make its heavy landfall late on Friday with 105-111 mph (170-180 kph) wind speed along with gusts as high as 200 kph, the IMD in its latest forecast said.

The state government has evacuated more than one million people in the last 24 hours, according to chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s tweet.

Patnaik tweeted: “More than 1 million people have been evacuated from the vulnerable districts in last 24hrs. Ganjam & Puri evacuated more than 3 lakh & 1.3 lakh people respectively to safe shelters. About 5000 kitchens started operating to serve people in the shelters. #OdishaPrepared4Fani”

Cyclone Fani was likely to strike off 15 districts in Odisha, where hundreds of disaster management personnel were deployed, closed colleges and schools, and asked health officials and doctors not to take leave until May 15.

The airport at the capital of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, will remain shut on Friday, and its neighbouring state, West Bengal, has also decided to shut its airport at the capital, Kolkata.

Cyclone season in India could last from April to December, during which severe heavy storms strike the coastal regions and cause widespread deaths and destructions to properties and crops in both India and Bangladesh, a neighbouring country.

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