OT: Hundreds Feared Dead in Cyclone

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BALESHWAR, India (AP)  A cyclone battered a broad swath of eastern India for a second day Saturday, knocking out power and telephone lines and flattening thousands of homes.

Hundreds may have died, said officials in Orissa state, which bore the brunt of the storm. While the storm was weakening as it moved inland, it wasn't possible to assess the death toll and property damage because the area was still inaccessible and cut off from communication.

``We are treating it as a national calamity,'' Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said. He said the government planned assistance equaling $23 million to the region.

As many as 1.5 million people have been displaced or affected by the storm. Just two weeks ago another cyclone battered Orissa, killing 100 people and injuring 1,000.

Moving livestock AP/Bikas Das [22K] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ``Hundreds must have perished,'' Press Trust of India news agency quoted Orissa state Chief Minister Giridhar Gamamg as saying.

Rescue operations were thwarted as the storm pounded the area for a second day, dumping rain from eastern India to Bangladesh and parts of Myanmar. Air force helicopters and ground troops, loaded with food packets, waited for a break.

The highway leading south from Baleshwar on the state border with West Bengal was littered with fallen eucalyptus trees and swamped with water. Long lines of trucks lined up on the roadside.

Local reports said two-thirds of Baleshwar district was submerged.

Nearly 300 army engineers and doctors dispatched by land from West Bengal began rescue and relief work, Press Trust of India quoted officials as saying. On Friday, 2,000 army soldiers were flown to Bhubaneswar, Orissa's state capital, for rescue operations, it said.

The cyclone packed 155-mph winds as it crossed the coast at the port of Paradwip early Friday, according to R.R. Kelkar, director-general of the Indian Meteorological Department. Paradwip's port area was damaged considerably, Star News TV reported.

By Saturday, the storm had weakened as it slowly moved inland. The cyclone was 20 miles northeast of Bhubaneswar early Saturday and moving in a northwesterly direction with winds dropping to about 36-42 mph, Kelkar said.

The cyclone uprooted trees, knocked down utility poles and flooded large parts of the coast. Waves reached 13-15 feet high.

Authorities in Calcutta, capital of West Bengal, said 200 fishermen had not returned home and feared they may have drowned.

More than a dozen cyclones form every year in the Bay of Bengal, but this one had grown since it originated Oct. 25 in the middle of the bay.

India recorded cyclones of similar intensity in 1990, 1989 and in 1977, he said. The cyclone in 1977 killed an estimated 10,000 people in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

-- another (tr@ge.dy), October 31, 1999


Is this one of the SysOps?

Thank you very much for needlessly spreading more fear over the internet. Maybe the TB2000 forum can include posts like these under the definition of trollish.

-- (totally@unneccessary. com), October 31, 1999.

Being prepared is smart. Mother Nature hits.

Saturday October 30, 10:28 PM

FOCUS-India cyclone death toll may reach thousands

By Himangshu Watts
BHUBANESHWAR, India, Oct 30 - The death toll from a cyclone which ravaged eastern India could run into thousands, the chief minister of the coastal state of Orissa said on Saturday.

"It could be thousands," Giridhar Gamang told Reuters in the state capital Bhubaneshwar.

A Reuters correspondent, speaking over Gamang's satellite telephone, said water from the sea had come about 15 km (nine miles) inland from the coast near the port of Paradip and was three to five feet deep, after being lashed by winds of up to 260 km (160 miles) per hour.

"It is still pouring and all communications lines are down. There is no electricity and it is all dark here," a senior official at the chief minister's office told Reuters.

He said telecommunications lines were expected to be restored within a day or two.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told reporters the cyclone that hit the coast on Friday had made 1.5 million people homeless.

"It is being treated as a national calamity... It (death toll) is difficult to assess," Vajpayee, recovering from a viral illness, told reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting.

Officials in Bhubaneshwar could confirm nine deaths so far, but the full extent of damage could not be judged as roads, telephones and electricity supplies were paralysed.

"The entire coastal area is under the influence of the cyclone. It is not moving and is at a standstill in one place," Vajpayee said.


Domestic news agencies, quoting meteorological department officials, said the "super cyclone" had weakened and was centred about 30 km (19 miles) north east of Bhubaneswar.

They said at least 40 trawlers carrying a total of more than 400 fishermen were still missing.

Trees were blocking roads in Bhubaneshwar, which was facing a severe scarcity of petrol and diesel and was without electricity. State officials said between 200,000 to 300,000 houses had been damaged.

"The entire Paradip port has been affected. It is difficult to say what is the extent of damage to the port. But it must be substantial," a senior official at the prime minister's office told Reuters.

An aircraft with a federal team headed by Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani, which had gone to Bhubaneswar to assess the damage, could not land due to the wind and rain and had to return to New Delhi, the United News of India reported.

Some trains to and from Orissa have been cancelled due to the cyclone, it said. Rescue teams including air force helicopters were expected to reach the worst hit-areas only from Sunday.

"Orissa has been cut off from the rest of the world," Vajpayee said.

The cyclone was the worst to hit the state in three decades and the second in a month. The federal government has sanctioned three billion rupees ($69 million) in aid for the cyclone victims.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), October 31, 1999.

Heads up, too many clues:

Sunday October 31 9:53 AM ET

Looting In India Cyclone Area, Relief Starts

By Himangshu Watts
BHUBANESHWAR, India (Reuters) - Mobs looted cars and shops in the eastern Indian state of Orissa Sunday in the wake of a cyclone that officials say may have killed thousands of people and left at least 1.5 million homeless.

Villagers wielding sticks forcibly stopped passing cars and looted shops and a mill on the highway linking the state capital Bhubaneshwar and the town of Cuttack, taking potatoes, wheat and flour, witnesses and officials said.

Media reports have compared the cyclone, the worst to hit Orissa in three decades, to the tidal surge in neighboring Andhra Pradesh in 1977 in which thousands died.

The cyclone, the second to hit the state in a month, will be treated like a national calamity, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has said.

Most telephone and power lines were cut in the region after winds of up to 260 km (160 miles) an hour hit the state Friday.

``Three warehouses of the FCI (Food Corporation of India) have been emptied but there is still looting,'' Dand Sinha, an aide in Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang's office, told Reuters by telephone. ``They are hungry and they have no water either.''

``Relief work is okay but rains are still continuing.''

The Indian government said in a statement that the railways linking Bhubaneshwar with New Delhi and Calcutta had been restored, paving the way for rail services from Sunday night.

The army was expected to take over air traffic control to restore flights, while officials hoped for the restoration of power supply later Sunday. State officials said several tons of food had been moved into the state.

Thousands Feared Dead

Special Relief Commissioner D.N. Pari said the two worst affected districts of Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur were still cut off.

``Even after two days we not been able to reach the district administration in these towns. It would be very difficult to make an assessment about the death toll unless we get the details from these two worst affected districts,'' Pari said.

Preliminary reports showed 200,000 houses had been destroyed in 15,000 villages in the coastal districts of the state, one of the poorest in India. Army aircraft and helicopters could not budge until Sunday because of as fierce winds and rains.

``The damage could have been worse had we not evacuated 150,000 people from Kendrapara and Jagdishpur before the storm hit these two districts,'' Pari said.

Gamang, who said the death toll from the cyclone could run into thousands, left for the port town of Paradip, where some 400 fishermen were missing. Officials said the port infrastructure was not severely affected.

The Press Trust of India said 22 people were reported killed in the Bhubaneshwar area. It quoted army officials as saying that people were perched on rooftops to avoid swirling waters.

Cyclone Is Weakening

A Reuters correspondent who visited areas near Bhubaneshwar said nearly all trees in the area were shaken or uprooted. Bhubaneshwar, called ``city of a thousand temples'' wore a ghost look with telecoms and electricity poles mangled.

``Heavy loss of life and property is expected. It is difficult to quantify at this moment when you have had such devastation,'' Central Relief Commissioner Bhagat Singh said.

Singh said several thousand troops from the neighboring states of Bihar and West Bengal had started moving in to clear highways and start relief work.

He said panic had gripped the people of the state after rumors that another cyclone was likely to hit Orissa. In a statement released Sunday the Meteorological Department said reports in local media of another likely storm were wrong.

The department said the cyclone had weakened considerably and was centered as a depression over the north Orissa coast at 11:30 a.m. (0600 GMT). It was likely to move northeastwards slowly.

Americans will loot too. When the lights go out, when they realize they have been fooled and betrayed. When they and their children are hungry.

American population is heavily armed. Gun sales this year have broken all records.

Next year will prove to be historically pivotal.

Look, see, think, listen, study, recognize patterns, appreciate clues, apply to preps, try to prepare, try to cope.

Thank God for this Forum

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), October 31, 1999.

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