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Saturday, October 12, 2013

PHAILIN THUNDERS IN AT 200KMPH Gopalpur heads for toofan shelter

Gopalpur-on-sea: For people of Bada Arjyapalli, a village on the beach here, cyclone threats and high tides are routine. They seldom panic when the weatherman talks about the sea turning rough or a storm striking. 

    But on Saturday morning not a soul here was taking things easy. They picked up their valuables and trudged to the nearby government building for shelter. Cyclone Phailin was on its way and everyone knew the threat this time was way serious than what it is otherwise. 
    "We've sent our families to the toofan building (cyclone shelter). We're ensuring no one is left behind," B Parseya said, as the sea swelled and roared deafeningly. Ganjam collector Krishan Kumar was on the job all night, evacuating people within 10km of the coastline. 
By morning about 200 of the 2,000 residents of Bada Arjyapalli were in the village. By midday everyone had left. 
    The administration had instructed people not to stay at the cyclone shelter in their gram panchayat. It was too close to the sea. Villagers walked a few kilometres to another facility at Kanamana. 
    Several villagers found it hard to move leaving their belongings behind. "The 1999 super cyclone almost flattened our village. We had to rebuild our houses and lives. Today we face that possibility 
again," said Jogamma (65), her eyes on her new TV set. 
    "When human life is at stake, what can material possessions do?" butted in Sitamma. "We are praying that the storm passes off without causing much damage," she added. 

57k evacuated in Jagatsinghpur 
agatsinghpur is deserted. Hours before Phailin's estimated time of arrival on Saturday, gusts of wind blowing more than 100 kmph and driving rain have being tearing through the coastal district. Power supply was cut at midnight. Barring the district control room monitoring evacuation work, the entire town plunged into darkness. Till Saturday morning, 57, 000 people had been evacuated to 232 cyclone shelters. "We've identified 240 villages in four blocks as very vulnerable. Three ODRAF teams and one of NDRF are in theses blocks" district emergency officer S K Das said. Ersaama, worst hit in the 1999 super cyclone, is being given top priority. Administration officials evacuating people was an uphill task evacuate people. "People were reluctant to leave. Our officers had to persuade them to move to rescue centres," collector (Jagatsinghpur) Satya Kumar Mallick, said. Riyan Ramanath V

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