Cyclone Amphan barrels along Odisha’s coast, claims infant as first victim
A two-month-old infant became Odisha’s first casualty of cyclone Amphan after the wall of the family’s kutcha house collapsed in coastal Bhadrak district as the super cyclone barreled along the state’s coast at 80-90 km per hour early Wednesday morning,
The baby boy of farmer Balaram Das in Kannada village of Bhadrak’s Tihidi block was sleeping when the mud wall of the house collapsed on him following overnight rain, officials said.
A 57-yr-old woman of Satbhaya in Kendrapara district who stayed back at home passed away when the cyclone hit the Odisha coast, but her death was not related to the storm.
Amphan, the strongest storm since the 1999 supercyclone is expected to hit hardest somewhere between Digha in West Bengal and Bangladesh’s Hatia islands later on Wednesday afternoon.
The cyclone has uprooted trees and bent electric poles in coastal Odisha districts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Balasore.
IMD officials said cyclone Amphan was heading further north resulting with increase in wind speed in Balasore and Bhadrak districts. At 12.30 pm, the cyclone was 95 km south-southeast of Digha in Bengal with sustained windspeed of 160-170 kmph and gusts reaching 190 kmph.
Paradip faced Amphan’s fury as gale force wind of over 100 kmph uprooted scores of trees, electric poles, blew away asbestos and tin roofs of several houses accompanied by over 200 mm rains. At Paradip port, over 100 truck drivers have taken shelter inside their vehicles, waiting for the storm to blow over. Heavy rain lashed Balasore and Bhadrak district with wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph.
Officials had evacuated over 1.5 lakh people from the coastal and adjoining districts into cyclone shelters till Tuesday evening. Around 1,575 pregnant women were also brought to safety by authorities in the coastal districts.
In a village of Kendrapara district, a woman delivered her baby in the fire service vehicle while being taken to a government hospital. The woman and her newborn girl were later admitted to the hospital and were said to be out of danger.