Cyclonic storm kills 8 in India's southern state

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-11 20:33:27|Editor: xuxin
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NEW DELHI, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from a severe cyclonic storm Titli has risen to eight on Thursday in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh, officials and local media said.

While two deaths had taken place in Srikakulam district, six fishermen who had put out to sea were also reported to be killed.

"We have reports of three deaths in Srikakulam district only," an official at Andhra Pradesh Disaster Management Authority told Xinhua. "We have been able to collect details that some fishermen are missing but we don't know what happened to them."

The cyclone made landfall early Thursday, affecting normal life with heavy to very heavy rains.

"The Chief Minister's office informed that six fishermen, who had put out to sea, were killed. Of the 67 fishing boats that had ventured into the sea over the last few days from Kakinada in East Godavari district, 65 had returned to the shore safely," New Delhi-based TV news channel News 18 said.

"Efforts were on to bring back the remaining two boats safely," it added.

However, the cyclone so far has not claimed any life in adjacent Odisha state.

Titli, which means butterfly in Hindi, has been categorised as a very severe cyclonic storm.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), cyclone Titli made landfall between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. in southwest coast of Gopalpur near Palasa in Andhra Pradesh with an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph.

However, an hour after the landfall, Gopalpur in Odisha reported surface wind at 126 kmph, Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh recorded wind speed of 56 kmph, officials said.

The cyclone has caused widespread damage in the state by uprooting scores of trees and electric poles, thereby affecting vehicular movement, power distribution and telephone network.

Eight districts in Odisha - Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore - have been affected by the cyclone.

Reports said the winds also damaged hutments and some mud houses.

In both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, local governments issued an alert and shifted population to safer places. The authorities in both states claimed they were prepared to face the eventuality.

The Odisha state government evacuated more than 300,000 people from coastal districts and closed educational institutions.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by India's Ministry of Earth Sciences said Titli is likely to weaken by Thursday evening.