Cyclone ‘Titli’ kills 7 people in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam

As Cyclone Titli hit near the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border Thursday morning, at least seven people were killed in Andhra’s Srikakulam district when trees and polls uprooted by high-speed winds fell on them.

In Odisha, officials said Mission Zero Casualty — a target set by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to prevent loss of human life — had been achieved. However, PTI reported late in the evening that an eight-year-old boy drowned in a canal in Ganjam district. Six people from two families were reported to be missing and efforts to trace them are on.

Andhra Pradesh officials said five people were crushed under falling trees or poles in Tekkali division, one in Palakonda division and another in Srikakulam division. Heavy rain left several areas inundated and livestock were washed away or crushed under trees.

Kotabommali Mandal, about 40 km from Srikakulam city, and Palasa, about 80 km from Srikakulam city, were the worst-hit. With electric poles uprooted, most parts of Srikakulam do not have power supply and officials said it may take at least a week for power to be restored in Palasa and nearby areas.

CM N Chandrababu Naidu has directed district officials to focus on relief measures and restoration of power and communication lines. “Every hour is crucial now and care should be taken to prevent spread of diseases,’’ he said in a tele-conference with officials.

NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed in Srikakulam and the neighbouring Vizianagaram districts. As a precautionary measure, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has suspended services in Srikakulam district. The NH-16 stretch passing through the district was closed to traffic as a precautionary step.

In Odisha, Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi told the media that the government is monitoring rainfall in various parts of the state and is alert to any potential flood situation. As per government estimates, 1,112 shelters are housing nearly three lakh people who were evacuated from coastal and low-lying areas.

On Thursday evening, reports emerged that six persons from two families are missing after their house was swept by flood waters at Bhutapankal village in Ganjam district. Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said efforts to trace them are underway.

As high waves continue to lash the coastal towns of Puri and Paradip, a few villages near Chilika Lake remain under threat. Southern districts of Kandhamal, Rayagada and Gajapati have received heavy rain. In Ganjam, Aska town is cut off and Rushilulya river has touched the danger mark.

The cyclone is reported to have affected Gajapati district the most, with uprooted trees cutting off key routes. “Thatched houses and power lines have been destroyed,” Sethi said. The Chief Minister’s Twitter handle tweeted, “As Gajapati is the worst hit among the districts, CM @Naveen_Odisha has directed to deploy two more NDRF teams. DMs have been asked to prepare reports on house and crop damage immediately and hailed achieving #zerocasualty target.

According to bulletins by Met department, Titli crossed north Andhra and south coastal Odisha between 4.30-5.30 am. Gopalpur in Ganjam district recorded wind speeds of 126 km per hour, another bulletin said.