trail of destruction, dozens dead and missing, farming sector worst affected

Severe Cyclonic Storm “Titli” slammed into the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and moved into Odisha late October 10 into October 11, 2018. The storm brought winds of 150 km/h (90 mph) and flooding rainfall, wreaking havoc across Andra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. Dozens of people are feared dead. Infrastructural and agricultural damage is very high.

Early on October 8, a low-pressure area organized into a depression in the east-central Bay of Bengal, with the Indian Meteorological Department assigning the system the identifier BOB 08. Later on the same day, the system strengthened into a Deep Depression and reached Very Severe Cyclonic Storm over the next few days.

Titli made landfall near Palasa, Andhra Pradesh – Odisha border region between 23:00 UTC, October 10 and 00:00 UTC, October 11 (04:30 and 05:30 IST October 11), with winds of 150 km/h (90 mph).

The storm caused significant damage to roads and housing infrastructure in the states of Andra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, but has proved to be most disastrous to the farming sector.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said as many as 127 262 people were sheltered in 963 relief centers Friday, while the NDRF and the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were deployed to speed up rescue and relief operations.

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In Andhra Pradesh, heavy rainfall and wind damaged 290 km (180 miles) of roads and created 65 traffic disruptions, of which 55 were promptly cleared. Power supply in over 4 000 villages has been affected as several electric poles were uprooted. 8 962 houses were also damaged.

At least 85 612 hectares (211 511 acres) of crop area was affected in Ganjam district. Similarly, 50 000 livestock got affected and 1 543 livestock casualty occurred. The agricultural damage in Srikakulam, AP is estimated to be at 139 844 hectares (345 562 acres) – mostly paddy, followed by cotton, maize and sugarcane.

The agricultural damage in Vizianagaram was estimated at over 2 700 hectares (6 671 acres).

At least 15 people were killed near Barghara in Odisha’s Gajapati district after a cave they were hiding in collapsed on October 12. The death toll is expected to rise as unofficial reports mention at least a dozen new bodies found. Survivors said there were five families taking shelter in the cave.

Senior BJD leader and former Union minister Chandra Shekhar Sahu said the local authorities had advised the villagers to move to safe shelters before the cyclone, but they apparently “refused.”

About 60 000 people were affected in the cyclone and flood and normal life was badly hit in Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts, official sources said.

Featured image credit: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

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