The strongest cyclone to hit India in five years killed at least 12 people in eastern Odisha state, before swinging north-eastwards into Bangladesh on Saturday where more than a million people have been moved to safety.
Having hit land, tropical cyclone Fani had lost some of its power and was downgraded to a ‘Deep Depression’ by the Indian Meteorological Department.
A storm surge still breached embankments to submerge dozens of villages on Bangladesh’s low-lying coast, a disaster ministry official in Dhaka said.
About 1.2 million people living in the most vulnerable districts in Bangladesh had been moved to some 4,000 shelters. The storm destroyed several houses in the Noakhali district, where a two-year-old child was killed and about 30 people were injured, local official Tanmoy Das told Reuters.
An Indian woman sits with her child next to storm-damaged buildings in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha today after Cyclone Fani swept through the area
Damaged homes are pictured near the seafront in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha today following the Cyclone
An Indian man sits on a damaged fishing boat along the seafront in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, many fishermen will have lost their livelihoods following the destruction
A map of Cyclone Fani’s path of destruction travelling up from the waters south of India and into Bangladesh this morning
In India, authorities were assessing the casualties and damage left behind by cyclone Fani, which had spent days churning slowly, building power over the northern reaches of the Bay of Bengal before tearing into Odisha.
Indian media reported that at least 12 people had died across the state, with most deaths caused by falling trees, but a mass evacuation of 1.2 million people in the 24 hours before the tropical cyclone made landfall averted a greater loss of life.
The seaside temple town of Puri, which lay directly in the path of Fani, suffered extensive damage, as winds gusting up to 200 kph (124 mph) tore off tin roofs, snapped power lines, and uprooted trees on Friday.
An Indian man looks out from a damaged building, with a fishing boat lodged on the roof, along the seafront in Puri
A man cuts branches of an uprooted tree in a residential area following Cyclone Fani in Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern state of Odisha, India
Cars are damaged by an uprooted tree in a residential area following Cyclone Fani in Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern state of Odisha, India
‘Destruction is unimaginable… Puri is devastated,â€ Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi told Reuters, adding that 116 people were reported injured across the state.
Video footage taken from an Indian navy aircraft showed extensive inundation in areas around Puri, with wide swathes of land submerged in the aftermath of the storm.
At least six people died in Bhubaneswar, Odisha’s state capital, where fallen trees blocked roads and electricity supply was still to be fully restored.
An Indian woman reconstructs a food shop after Cyclone Fani hit the town of Digha in West Midnapore district, West Bengal, India, today
An abandoned house and trees bend with gusty winds ahead of the landfall of cyclone Fani on the outskirts of Puri, in the Indian state of Odisha, Friday. Indian authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people along the country’s eastern coast ahead of a cyclone moving through the Bay of Bengal
An Indian man removes belongings from his food stall that was damaged after Cyclone Fani hit the town of Digha in West Midnapore district, West Bengal, India, today
People sit on the shore after Cyclone Fani hit Digha in West Midnapore district, West Bengal, India, today
An Indian family reconstructs their food shop after Cyclone Fani hit the town of Digha in West Midnapore district, West Bengal, India, May 4
An Indian woman collects broken tree branches after Cyclone Fani hit the town of Digha in West Midnapore district, West Bengal, India, May 4
Ashok Patnaik, director of Capital Hospital, one of the largest state-run hospitals in n Bhubaneswar, said four people were received dead on Friday and two on Saturday. ‘All are cyclone related,’ he said.
Bhubaneswar airport suffered considerable damage, but would re-open on Saturday afternoon, India’s aviation ministry said.
Shelters were set up in schools and other safe buildings to accommodate the evacuees, who included scores of tourists.
Moments as the roof was ripped off by Cyclone Fani in eastern India’s Odisha state on Friday. The young family escaped unharmed just seconds before
Scary footage shows the moment Cyclone Fani blew off the roof of a building in eastern India’s Odisha state on Friday after the cyclone made landfall at around 8am.
Visuals showed the severe strong wind partially lifting the roof, which was kept affixed by cementing bricks on the side. As the roof lifted partially, residents inside the building ran away to from it.
A few seconds later, the strong wind completely tore off the roof and blew it away, moments after the family were able to escape.
Dark clouds from a thunderstorm pass over Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, as warnings for the ‘extremely severe’ cyclone were issued in India
Passengers are stranded as trains are cancelled due to the onset of cyclone Fani, at Howrah Railway Station on May 3, 2019 in Kolkata, India. Cyclone Fani tore through India’s eastern coast on Friday as a grade 5 storm, lashing beaches with rain and winds gusting up to 205 kilometers per hour and affecting weather as far away as Mount Everest as it approached the West Bengal capital Kolkata
A fallen tree and damaged vehicle seen after the onset of cyclone Fani on May 3, 2019 in Puri, India
A family carry their pets to safety on a moped after the onset of cyclone Fani on May 3, 2019 in Puri, India
A man folds his hands in prayer as cyclone Fani hits the coast, on May 3, 2019 in Puri, India. Over 160 were injured, a trail of destruction that included damaged houses, uprooted trees and electricity poles
Neighbouring West Bengal state escaped substantial damage, but authorities moved nearly 45,000 people to safer locations.
The cyclone season in the Bay of Bengal can last from April to December.
In 1999, a super-cyclone battered the coast of Odisha for 30 hours, killing 10,000 people.
A dog walks under an uprooted tree following Cyclone Fani in Khordha district, in the eastern state of Odisha, India, May 3
An Indian resident sits on an electric rickshaw next to a damaged structure after Cyclone Fani landfall in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on Friday. The woman is soaked through as she clutches her belongings
But since then, technology advances have helped weather forecasters track the cyclones more accurately, giving authorities more time to prepare, and a mass evacuation of nearly a million people saved thousands of lives in 2013.
Terrifying footage shows a 130mph cyclone slamming into India. Cyclone Fani ripped into the country’s east coast on Friday morning, tearing down trees, blowing away food stands and cutting off power and water.
Experts fear rising sea levels could cause a five-foot storm surge in Odisha, where the storm made landfall today and where 10,000 people died in a 1999 storm.
The cyclone, one of the strongest to come off the Indian Ocean for years, is expected to barrel into West Bengal state and towards Bangladesh on a trajectory which will take it over the homes of 100million people.
The storm has even hit the Mount Everest climbing season 500 miles away as mountaineers and Sherpa guides descended to lower camps in worsening weather.
Indian residents inspect damages on street stalls at a promenade after Cyclone Fani landfall in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on Friday
Indian residents ride along a road next to damaged trees. The storm sent coconut trees flying, blew away food stands and cut off power and water
Indian residents ride along a road next to damaged trees oafter Cyclone Fani landfall in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on May 3
Shattered: A glass door smashes during Cyclone Fani in Bhubaneswar as authorities evacuate the homes of a million people amid fears of a storm surge
Damage: Trees are seen bending alarmingly as wind and rain batters the east coast (left) while another image (right) showed shattered glass on the ground in Bhubaneswar
One person died of a heart attack in one of several thousand shelters that have been set up, while another woman was killed by debris from a concrete structure, Indian media reported.
‘Another person went out in the storm despite our warnings and died because a tree fell on him,’ Odisha special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said.
Footage shows trees bending violently in the wind and debris flying across roads as people struggled to stay upright.
Indian residents walk along a beach after Cyclone Fani hits Puri, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on Friday
The families stand on a beachfront huddling together after Cyclone Fani landfall in Puri, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on May 3, 2019
Wind and rain were seen lashing into abandoned homes while street stands had completely toppled over.
In another dramatic scene the cyclone toppled a crane that stood over 20 storeys high, flattening houses beneath it where it is believed some people were taking shelter.
Some 3,000 shelters in schools and government buildings have been set up to accommodate more than a million people in Odisha.
Indian residents inspect damages on street stalls at a promenade after Cyclone Fani landfall in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on May 3
Indian residents inspect the damage and clear debris after Cyclone Fani landafall in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on May 3
Ports have been closed but the Indian Navy has sent six warships to the region while India’s biggest oil and gas producer ONGC evacuated almost 500 workers from offshore rigs.
Meteorologists have warned of the ‘total destruction’ of thatched houses, the uprooting of power and communication poles.
They also predicted the ‘flooding of escape routes’ and damage to crops in some areas.
Measures were also being taken to protect the eight-and-a-half-century old Jagannath temple in the city.
Ravaged: A petrol station is seen with debris on the ground after the 130mph cyclone struck India’s east coast on Friday
Downfall: This set of images shows a crane which was rigged up next to a 20-storey building collapsing to the ground
Desolation: A man cuts branches of an uprooted tree following Cyclone Fani in Khordha district in the eastern state of Odisha
Bent out of shape: A glass window is blown out of its frame at a building in Bhubaneswar as Cyclone Fani makes landfall on Friday
Desolate: A motorcyclist braves gusty winds just before the landfall of cyclone Fani, which could reach 125mph winds, on the outskirts of Puri
Bangladeshi passengers cover themselves with a plastic sheet as they cross the Buriganga River by boat during a rainy day in Dhaka
Devastation: Street shops are seen collapsed while trees are blown ferociously in the winds of Cyclone Fani
The storm made landfall in Hindu holy town of Puri, a major tourist destination on the coast that attracts millions of visitors every year.
More than 100,000 dry food packets are ready to be dropped if needed, reports said, with electricity and water supplies already cut for much of the city of 200,000 people.
Flights have been cancelled in and out of Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar and Kolkata in West Bengal until at least Saturday.
India’s National Disaster Response Force shared images of several uprooted trees along the coast in Andhra Pradesh state to the south.
The NDRF teams were trying to remove the fallen trees and branches to ensure they do not become projectiles if the winds intensify.
Disaster Managment Group officials on the deserted banks of the Bay Of Bengal as tourists being evacuted before Cyclone Fani made landfall at neighbouring West Midnapore of West Bengal some 200 km west of Kolkata, eastern India, on Friday
Locals shift their goats in a country boat to safer places after Cyclone Fani hit the coastal eastern state of Odisha, in river Brahmaputra in Gauhati, India, Friday, May 3, 2019
They painstakingly remove their cattle from one side of the bank to the other in a small boat
The cattle convenes at the other side of the flooded river Brahmaputra in Gauhati, India, Friday, May 3
Wreckage: Debris from a destroyed petrol station roof lies on the ground in Konark, on India’s east coast where the storm hit
Collapsed: A street stand is toppled over in the winds as Indian authorities evacuate the homes of more than a million people amid the storm
Knocked down: Motorcycles lie on a street in Puri district with trees blowing furiously in the background in Puri district today
Refuge: People evacuated for safety rest in a temporary cyclone relief shelter in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha today
A dog walks under an uprooted tree following Cyclone Fani in Khordha district in the eastern state of Odisha
Rush for safety: Villagers look to take cover on a road on the outskirts of Puri as the cyclone hits amid fears it will cause a deadly storm surge
In Bangladesh, disaster management chief Mohammad Hashim said that more than 4,000 cyclone shelters have been opened in 19 coastal districts.
Disaster management spokesman Mohammad Jahir told AFP that 400,000 people from Bangladeshi coastal villages have been taken to shelters.
The country’s weather bureau has told deep-sea fishing vessels to stay near the coast, while inland water transport activities were suspended.
Media reports said hundreds of trees were uprooted at Chilika Lake just south of Puri in the first violent winds while metal shutters covered store fronts and sand blew up the streets from the nearby beach.
Hundreds of thousands more people in India’s West Bengal state have also been given orders to flee. Local airports have been shut, while train lines and roads were closed.
But a few thousand are known to have defied the evacuation orders in Puri. Some took shelter in local schools and hotels.
Place to sleep: People evacuated for safety rest in a temporary cyclone relief shelter in Puri
Blown over: A strong wind blows trees and an electric pole during Cyclone Fani in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on Friday
Lonely road: An Indian commuter cycles down a nearly deserted road in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha early on Friday morning
Threat: A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tropical Cyclone Fani intensifying in the Bay of Bengal yesterday
Krishna Chandra Sahu, 43, took seven members of his family to a city hotel to ride out the storm.
‘We didn’t feel our home was safe so we came here,’ he told AFP.
‘We will just stay for the day until the cyclone has passed. We are not scared but we feel safer here.’
Experts fear the cyclone could cause sea levels to rise and bring about a storm surge, sending a destructive wall of water gushing over the land.
Storm surge is not the result of rainfall or flooding, rather it happens when powerful winds push ocean water rushing toward land.
Surges can extend for dozens of miles inland, overwhelming buildings quickly and cutting off roads. People can end up drowning in their cars or homes.
Indian forecasters said a five-foot surge could hit the east coast, which is vulnerable to destructive storms.
In 2017 Cyclone Ockhi left nearly 250 people dead and more than 600 missing in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The 1999 storm wreaked $4.5 billion worth of damage, as well as taking 10,000 lives.
Keep low: An Indian farmer lies on the road after falling while crossing the road due to gusty winds
No service: Stranded passengers rest inside a railway station after trains between Kolkata and Odisha were cancelled ahead of Cyclone Fani
Destruction: A fuel filling station which was in the path of Cyclone Fani is seen wrecked on Friday following the storm’s impact
Looming disaster: Menacing clouds hang above Visakhapatnam, India, on Thursday ahead of the storm’s landfall on Friday morning