SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 14, 2013

Mass evacuation before Indian cyclone limited toll

(Continued)

The Indian government had faced immense public criticism after its slow response to deadly floods and mudslides in June in the northern state of Uttarakhand, where more than 6,000 people were killed.

But officials took few chances with Phailin, especially given memories of a 1999 Orissa cyclone that devastated the coastline and left at least 10,000 people dead.

Nearly 1 million people were evacuated from the coast ahead of Phailin, including more than 870,000 in Orissa and more than 100,000 in neighboring Andhra Pradesh.

Still, some either missed the evacuation or chose to ride out the storm near the coast, for fear of losing their homes and livestock to possible looting.

Truck driver M.D. Makasad Ali had set out Saturday night from the coast for Behrampur, but was forced by strong winds to pull over and shelter in his cab.

“At around midnight, the wind shook the truck and it fell over,” the 25-year-old said. He managed to crawl out of a broken window and run for cover at a hotel.

Carpenter Pitambar Moharanat, 65, spent the night terrified in his employer’s seaside building in Gopalpur, where for six hours he listened to screaming winds shake the bolted wooden shutters until the winds eased at around 3 a.m.

“I am thanking God for sparing us,” he said.

For days before the storm hit, officials had been stockpiling food and setting up hundreds of shelters. The Indian military put some forces on alert, with trucks, planes and helicopters ready for relief operations.

Electric utility authorities in Orissa switched off the power in 12 districts after scores of electric pylons toppled from the torrential rain and high winds.

The storm wreaked havoc in Behrampur, with the wind shattering windows, blowing down trees and electrical poles, and terrifying residents. But only three people died in the town, a security official said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Baker(1) GOP's Baker to unveil plan to fight drug addiction

    BOSTON (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker has unveiled what he's calling a comprehensive approach to tackling the drug addiction crisis in Massachusetts.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140730_SN_DLE_DEMOLITION5 Demolition of Salem Harbor Station begins

    SALEM -- It all begins with B5. Or ends, depending on how you look at it. Demolition began at Salem Harbor Station Wednesday afternoon, with crews first setting upon one of the power plant's 11 steel tanks. The work was supposed to begin Monday, but

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Market Basket seeks replacement workers through job fair next week

    Market Basket began advertising a job fair for store managers and assistant managers in a direct shot at the current managers who signed petitions Monday threatening to resign if former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is not rehired. The ad, which will appear

    July 31, 2014 2 Stories

  • Mary Manning Recovering Salem principal says thanks

    SALEM -- Just about a month before she was set to retire after 25 years as the principal of Collins Middle School, Mary Manning entered the hospital with a life-threatening condition. She hasn't been home since. A month later, in June, friends and co

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Former school janitor Robert Scribner sentenced for assaults in truck

    SALEM -- A now-former Marblehead school janitor was ordered to serve a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges that he assaulted and threatened to kill his estranged girlfriend after trapping her in his pickup truck in May. Robert Scr

    July 31, 2014