News / Asia

India Marshalls Cyclone Disaster Relief

  • Fisherwomen and a girl stand in front of damaged house after Cyclone Phailin hit Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • Fishermen clear debris from their damaged houses after Cyclone Phailin hit Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • Boats are seen on an eroded shore after Cyclone Phailin hit Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • People crowd to buy gas after a fuel station resumed its services in Berhampur in Ganjam district, Orissa state, India, Oct. 14, 2013.
  • Boys sleep on the floor of a wedding hall after leaving their house to take shelter from Cyclone Phailin, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, Oct. 12, 2013.
  • A man covers himself with a plastic sheet during heavy rain brought by Cyclone Phailin in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Oct. 12, 2013.
  • Men try to remove fallen trees from a road due to the rain and wind in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, Oct. 12, 2013.
  • A man covers himself with a plastic sheet near Gopalpur junction in Ganjam district, about 200 kilometers from the eastern Indian city Bhubaneswar, Oct. 12, 2013.
  • People walk among debris from a broken wall after it was damaged by a wave brought by Cyclone Phailin at a fishing harbor in Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh, Oct. 12, 2013.
  • A big wave smashes into a breakwater at a fishing harbor in Jalaripeta in Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh, Oct. 11, 2013.
Cyclone Phailin Bears Down on India
Anjana Pasricha
In eastern India officials are preparing a massive disaster relief operation to cope with a fierce cyclone that tore inland from the Bay of Bengal, leaving tens of thousands of people in shelters  while waiting for the country's deadliest storm in over a decade to pass.

As the storm slammed the coast near Gopalpur in Orissa state Saturday night, winds with speeds of 200 kilometers per hour and incessant rain lashed the region.
 
Rickshaw driver plows through heavy rain in Berhampur, about 180 kilometres south of Bhubaneswar, Oct. 12, 2013.Rickshaw driver plows through heavy rain in Berhampur, about 180 kilometres south of Bhubaneswar, Oct. 12, 2013.
x
Rickshaw driver plows through heavy rain in Berhampur, about 180 kilometres south of Bhubaneswar, Oct. 12, 2013.
Rickshaw driver plows through heavy rain in Berhampur, about 180 kilometres south of Bhubaneswar, Oct. 12, 2013.
Trees were uprooted, electric poles snapped and many areas were plunged into darkness as the power went off.
 
The chief of India’s Metrological Department, L.S. Rathore, said that the storm will continue for many hours.
 
“Another 24 hours rain will be there," he said. "Now it will depend as to how rain is impacting. On different terrains it will have different bearing and so and so forth and how much damage it causes.”
 
Officials said that the full extent of damage the cyclone causes will be difficult to assess until the morning.
 
Millions in storm's path
 
More than 10 million people live in the path of the storm in two eastern Indian states — Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
 
About a half-million people living in villages along the coast were evacuated to shelters set up in schools and government buildings, while others hunkered down in their homes waiting for the cyclone to pass.
      
Evacuated Indian villagers watch the storm from a temporary shelter in Chatrapur, India, Oct. 12, 2013.
Evacuated Indian villagers watch the storm from a temporary shelter in Chatrapur, India, Oct. 12, 2013.

By Saturday night, reports of some deaths began trickling in. Local media reported several deaths and said that 18 fishermen were missing at sea.
 
The storm is expected to be less intense than a massive one which struck the region in 1999, causing widespread damage and killing 10,000 people.
 
Authorities say they are much better prepared to cope with the cyclone this time, but Rathore warns that the storm has massive potential for damage.
 
“Though with landfall, the winds will start reducing, the peak wind may be even if I presume 210-215 (kilometers per hour), every hour there will be decline till it remains (120 kilometers per hour), we definitely call it a very severe cyclone storm.”
 
The army, navy and air force are on standby to assist with rescue and relief operations.
 
Vice Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Marri Shashidhar Reddy said the priority is to minimize the loss of life, and that his organization has deployed about 60 rescue teams.
 
“The state government ... will be there with their resources; the army, they will be there with their resources," he said. "It will be on a war footing as and when things require clearing and other things.”
 
Tarpaulin sheets, dry food rations, medical kits and water purification tablets have been stocked in the region as officials brace for widespread power failures and flooding of roads and rail lines as the storm passes the region.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
October 12, 2013 4:37 PM
Good luck to those poor folks. I hope the Govt. of India takes care of the people who can't take care of themselves.
In Response

by: jazz from: usa
October 25, 2013 7:12 PM
omg!!!!!!! i feel so sorry i hope they get help

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs