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Rahul Gandhi urges Congress workers to help people affected by Cyclone Fani

Extremely severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' made landfall in Puri on Odisha coast Friday morning.

Rahul Gandhi urges Congress workers to help people affected by Cyclone Fani

NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has appealed to his party workers in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal to warn people in their neighbourhood about Cyclone Fani and help those in need.

"As #CycloneFani approaches, I urge Congress workers in Odisha, Andhra & West Bengal to warn people in their surrounding areas of the approaching danger and to help those in need," the Congress chief said in a tweet several hours ahead of the Cyclone Fani hitting the Odisha coast on Friday morning.

"Stay safe. This danger will soon pass. You are in my thoughts and prayers tonight," he said.

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Extremely severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' made landfall in Puri on Odisha coast Friday morning, triggering heavy rainfall coupled with high-velocity winds with speed of 175 kmph in vast areas.

Large areas in the seaside pilgrim town of Puri and other places were submerged with water as heavy rains battered the entire coastal belt of the state.

Cyclone Fani Hits Odisha: Full Coverage

Several trees were uprooted and thatched structures destroyed at some places including Bhubaneswar.

"The cyclone has entered the Odisha coast at Puri around 8 AM and it will take around three hours for the entire landfall process to be completed," Director of Regional Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar, HR Biswas had said in the morning.

The cyclonic system, whose eye is around 28 km, is moving at around 30 kmph, Biswas said, adding the process of landfall is expected to be complete around 11 AM.

Puri and neighbouring areas are experiencing wind with a speed of 175 kilometres per hour which may go up to 200 kmph.

Under the impact of the cyclone, a high-velocity wind is sweeping across several coastal districts like Ganjam, Puri, Khurda and Gajapati, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.

Nearly 11 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable and low-lying areas of at least 11 coastal district, he said, adding the evacuees have been accommodated in over 4,000 shelters, including 880 specially designed cyclone centres.

No casualty has so far been reported from any part of the state, Sethi said adding the government is fully prepared to deal with any eventuality.

After the landfall, the system is passing through Khurda, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore before entering West Bengal, Sethi said, adding the state capital of Bhubaneswar is likely to be hit by high-velocity wind of around 140 kmph.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal government has sounded alert in coastal areas and the state capital Kolkata. It has urged people to move to safer places.

In Andhra Pradesh too, a red alert has been issued for Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. 

(With Agency Inputs)