Toll Rises to 12 in Odisha, 42,000 People Evacuated in West Bengal

Cyclone Fani in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday

Flights have been cancelled in and out of Odisha's capital Bhubaneswar and Kolkata in West Bengal until at least Saturday. It is described as a Category 3 storm, according to the India Meteorological Department, which added that it is slated to bring heavy rains.

"At least 63 people were also injured", Shaheen Sultana, a disaster ministry official, told AFP, with more than 2,000 houses destroyed. It is expected to cause a storm surge, during which sea levels rise dramatically, sending destructive walls of water inland.

Water levels of the Pashur, Mongla, Baleshwar, Bhairab and Panguchhi rivers were rising and may continue to rise, Bagerhat Water Development Board Executive Engineer Nahid-uz-Zaman Khan warned.

The storm was located over Bangladesh on Saturday at 08:30 local time (04:00 GMT) but had weakened with gusts up to 70km/h (43mph).

"During this time, life-threatening flooding is still possible along with an elevated risk for mudslides across the rugged terrain of the region", the report said.

The NDR Force has dispatched 54 rescue and relief teams to flood-prone areas along the coast and as far afield as around 1,300 kilometres (840 miles) east of mainland India in the Bay of Bengal.

Coming during India's vast general elections, the storm led to the cancellation or postponement of campaign rallies of top politicians including Premier Narendra Modi.

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The India Meteorological Department said the "extremely severe" cyclone has impacted weather across the Asian subcontinent. The storm is now expected to weaken as it progresses toward West Bengal, a state adjoining Odisha.

In three separate incidents, three people were killed as a tree came crashing down on a teenager killing him at a place within Sakhigopal police station area limits in Puri district.

Another woman, age 65, died after a suspected heart attack at a cyclone shelter, PTI reported. "No assessment of monetary damage has been made yet", said Hemant Sharma, secretary (energy), Odisha government.

In Bangladesh, a woman died when a tree fell on her due to gusty winds in Bagerhat in the morning. It has evacuated nearly 500 people working at its fields. Media reports said hundreds of trees were uprooted at the nearby Chilika Lake just south of Puri in the first violent winds. But technology advances have helped weather forecasters track cyclones more accurately and facilitate preparations. With heavy rain and winds more than 170 miles an hour, it killed 10,000 people.

Several hundred thousand people were told to evacuate coastal areas of West Bengal before the arrival of Fani ( "snake" in Bengali), with 5,000 leaving the low-lying areas and old, dilapidated buildings of Kolkata, home to 4.6 million people. Authorities there have already evacuated 400,000 to shelters.

Winds of up to 180 km per hour have been recorded in the town of Puri and officials say there are no reported casualties at the moment.

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