ShareThis Page
Preparation limits toll of cyclone | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Preparation limits toll of cyclone

Associated Press
1115604_web1_1115604-9b225f8771804b82b504889bd1d52643
AP
Children sit Saturday on a boat damaged by Cyclone Fani in the Penthakata fishing village of Puri, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A mammoth preparation exercise that included the evacuation of more than 1 million people appears to have spared India a devastating death toll from one of the biggest storms in decades, though the full extent of the damage was yet to be known, officials said Saturday.

Cyclone Fani packed winds of 155 miles per hour when it made landfall in eastern Odisha state Friday, equivalent in strength to a Category 4 hurricane, said Mohammad Heidarzadei, an expert at Brunel University of London.

As of late Saturday, India’s National Disaster Response Force director S.N. Pradhan said three people had been killed, though the storm smashed thatched-roof huts, uprooted trees and power lines, ripped the roof off a medical college and sprayed the emptied coastline with debris.

Officials cautioned that the death toll could rise as communications were restored.

Fani crossed over India’s West Bengal state and moved northeast toward Bangladesh on Saturday, weakening from a severe cyclonic storm to a cyclonic storm.

At least a dozen people had been confirmed killed in Bangladesh as the cyclone hovered over the country’s southwestern coast early Saturday, delivering battering rainstorms. Lightning killed at least six people, local newspapers and TV reported.

However, the death toll had not increased by Saturday afternoon, suggesting effective preparedness in Bangladesh.

Bad weather from the storm system was projected to affect about 100 million people in South Asia, from India’s distant Andaman Islands to Mt. Everest in Nepal.

The relatively low casualty count demonstrates much improved disaster readiness in India since 1999, when a “super” cyclone killed about 10,000 people and devastated large parts of Odisha.

“In the event of such a major calamity like this — where Odisha was hit by close to a super-cyclone — instead of being a tragedy of humongous proportion, we are in the process of restoring critical infrastructure. That is the transformation that Odisha has had,” the state’s top government official, Naveen Patnaik, said in a statement.

India’s disaster response agency said authorities were working “on war footing” to restore power and communications, and clear roads of debris.

Widespread power outages, damaged water supplies and roads blocked by fallen trees and power lines made transport around the affected area difficult, officials said.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.