News / Asia

In India, Damage but Few Deaths From Cyclone Phailin

Indian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone PhaiIndian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone Phai
x
Indian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone Phai
Indian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone Phai
Aru Pande
A day after one of the largest storms in decades slammed into India’s east coast, authorities are crediting mass evacuations for a minimal loss of life from Cyclone Phailin.  At least 14 people have been killed so far in storm-related incidents.

Indian authorities knew Phailin was on its way, and did not waste time dispatching hundreds of members of the army’s National Defense Response Force to the eastern states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh on Saturday in anticipation of the very severe cyclone.

Meanwhile, police, television and radio reports helped spread the word getting nearly a million people to take shelter in government buildings, schools and temples as more than 200-kilometer winds bore down on the coast late Saturday into early Sunday.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik credits one of the largest evacuation operations in India’s history for saving lives.

“Normalcy will come back soon. Our primary responsibility was to protect the valuable lives of our citizens. I think we have been successful in minimizing the loss of precious lives,” said Patnaik.

Patnaik said military helicopters that were on standby to rescue storm victims did not have to be deployed during Phailin.

Officials did not want a repeat of 1999, when a cyclone formed in the Bay of Bengal hit the same area, causing widespread damage and killing at least 10,000 people.
Still Cyclone Phailin left a trail of destruction, downing power and communication lines, uprooting trees, and damaging more than 200,000 homes. Officials say some nine million people have been affected by the storm.

The Director General of India’s Meteorological Department, L.S. Rathore, says the priority now is rehabilitation and recovery, with workers mobilized as soon as the brunt of Phailin passed through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Rathore said, “when it comes to the downed trees, authorities have been working since the morning to clear roads and lessen the impact for travelers.”
Orissa’s Revenue and Disaster Minister S. N. Patro told reporters the cyclone damaged some 500,000 hectares of crops - a huge blow to the impoverished state, which relies primarily on agriculture.

And it’s not over yet. Meteorological officials say the effects of Phailin will be felt as far away as the Himalayas. The cyclone is expected to become a severe depression, weakening gradually - but still causing heavy rain and strong winds of at least 50 kilometers per hour until early Tuesday as it moves inward through Chhattisgarh and Bihar states. Flood warnings are already in place in some areas.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid