Two people have been killed as extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ made landfall in Puri at a speed of 175 kmph on Friday morning and has now picked up pace clocking up speeds of up to 200 kmph in neighbouring areas of coastal Odisha.

Countless trees, electric poles were uprooted, power supply snapped and villages were submerged as heavy rains battered various parts of the coastline.

A total of 10,000 villages and 52 towns have been hit hard by this catastrophe which has been tagged as the fiercest in the past 20 years. Puri and Bhubaneshwar are the worst hit as the cyclone now speedily approaches towards West Bengal.

The landfall happened after 10 o’clock this morning. According to reports, 142 kmph winds lashed the coastal region of Puri in Odisha where massive rescue operations are underway. Puri has so far received rainfall of 90 mm according to the latest reports.

The Indian Meteorological Department had earlier predicted that Fani is very likely to cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, south of Puri with a maximum sustained wind speed of 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph. The landfall process is very likely to continue till noon.

The diameter of the eye of the cyclone is around 28 km which is moving at around 30 kmph.

After the landfall, the system is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and emerge into the Gangetic region of West Bengal as a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ by Saturday morning and is very likely to move further north-northwestwards and emerge into Bangladesh as a cyclonic storm.

Meanwhile, addressing an election rally in Rajasthan on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government is with the people in the time of crisis. He also said over ₹1,000 crore had been released in advance for the States affected by cyclone ‘Fani’.

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The Central government has released an amount of Rs 1,086 crores to the four affected states from Cyclone Fani as advanced funds. The fund have been released for undertaking preventive and relief measures to deal with the effects of the cyclone.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has released financial assistance of Rs 1,086 crores to the SDRF of four states. Of the sanctioned amount, Odisha will recieve Rs 340.87 crore, Tamil Nadu Rs 309.37 crore, West Bengal Rs 235.50 crore and Andhra Pradesh will get Rs 200.25 crore.

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