Cyclone Fani: Odisha govt orders closure of educational institutions from May 2

Cyclone Fani MHA orders advance release of Rs 1086 crore to SDRF's of 4 states

Fani, now churning in the Bay of Bengal is forecast to track straight into India's states of Odisha and West Bengal, a population well over 100 million.

Cyclone Fani, pronounced as "Foni", which is forming in the Bay of Bengal, is expected to make a landfall in Odisha on Friday, May 3, at 5:30 PM in south Puri.

Odisha had to evacuate some 300,000 people last October when its coastal districts were battered by cyclone Titli, with winds up to 150 km (95 miles) per hour and heavy rains.

The IMD has warned of extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places in north coastal Andhra Pradesh.

"Ships at Visakhapatnam are standing-by with relief material for immediate deployment to most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid, Distress Relief operations".

Aircraft of the Indian Navy are also in a state of readiness at two locations for emergency services.

The Election Commission has, meanwhile, relaxed the provisions of the model code of conduct in 11 coastal districts to facilitate relief and rescue operations, state's chief electoral officer Surendra Kumar said. The home ministry has assured the state governments to release in advance the first instalment of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), as per their request, a Home Ministry statement said.

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The collectors of coastal and southern districts have been asked to complete the evacuation exercise from low lying areas by Thursday evening keeping in mind the forecast of massive tides that could surge up to 1.5 metres during the landfall, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.

As per the meteorology department, the cyclone was to be at a safe distance from the land near the coast but Fani is passing over many parts of Andhra Pradesh, South interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Some reports suggest that Fani could be more intense than Cyclone Title which hit Odisha past year and left 60 dead.

The cyclone will trigger heavy to very heavy rainfall in the south and east coastal districts, while there will be isolated heavy rainfall at one or two places in the north Odisha districts, he said. It has also predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall at places such as Boudh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Sundargarh and Kalahandi.

It has already issued orange alert for Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Rayagada and Kandhamal districts on May 2 and red warning for 25 districts including Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Puri, Bhadrak, Ganjam, Kendrapara, Balasore and Angul on May 3.

Regular warnings have been issued since April 25 to fishermen not to venture into the sea and asking those at sea to return to the coast.

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