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Cyclone Phethai: Heavy rains continue to lash Odisha, Andhra coast

Bhubaneswar: The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rainfall in most places of Odisha during the next 12 hours under the impact of cyclone Phethai which made landfall at Katrenikonain in East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh on Monday afternoon packing wind speed that gusted up to 85-90 kmph triggering heavy rains. One person has been killed so far in the cyclone, reports claimed.

Though the cyclonic system has weakened, many districts in the southern region of Odisha have been experiencing heavy rainfall under its impact.

As per the latest information, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur in four districts- Malkangiri, Koraput, Gajapati and Rayagada.

Many places in Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, and Gajapati districts are expected to receive more rains in the next 12 hours. Besides, heavy rain is likely at isolated places of Ganjam, Puri, Nuapada, Bargarh, Bolangir, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Sundergarh and Keonjhar districts, a bulletin from IMD stated.

Squally winds with speed reaching 30-40 kmph and gusting up to 50 kmph are likely along and off South Odisha coast during next 12 hours, it added.

Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi informed that the cyclonic storm has turned into a well-marked low pressure and is likely to form into a low-pressure system within next 12 hours. While rains continue to lash several districts of Odisha, Bolangir district recorded the highest rainfall of 92.4mm, Jharsuguda has recorded 75.8 mm rain and Sambalpur has received 75.3 mm rain under the impact of the cyclone, he said.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into West Central adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal, north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts during next 12 hours.

On the other hand, farmers in the state are in distress due to the rains triggered under the impact of the cyclone. Standing paddy and cotton crops along with harvested paddy stocks stashed on open fields have suffered the most damage due to the rains continuing in several districts.

“We could not do anything as the rain occurred suddenly. The harvested paddy was left out in the open and was soaked in the rain. We had cultivated the crops by availing farm loans but now after the rains we are concerned on how to repay the loans, as neither any assistance nor any help were provided to us,” rued a farmer.

SRC Sethi has informed that adequate compensation and financial assistance will be disbursed from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for the farmers based on the report submitted by district authorities after assessment of damage.

Meanwhile, Office of the Gajapati Collector informed that around 11,600 people of seven vulnerable blocks in the district have been shifted to safer places.

Speaking to ANI, Joint Commissioner Relief Pravat Mohapatra informed that cotton crops have been damaged at several places and once government completes the damage assesment, assistance will be provided to the affected farmers.

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