Cyclone Phailin: 500,000 homes evacuated as storm pounds India

Cyclone 03B 25 jun 2007 0610Z

Cyclone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the midst of this devastation, one of the largest weather systems to hit India in recent years, there appears to be a success story.  The Indian government’s mass evacuation of the East coast looks like it’s saved thousands of lives.  Now the re-build must begin.



Cyclone Phailin punching west,
southpaw storm-surge hammering the coast
between Odisha and Andrha Pradesh.

Evacuate, escape, flee inland,
hurry, grab only what you cherish most,
scurrying children cling, frantic, to your hands.

Don’t look back, leave doubt behind,
feel the fighter’s sweat but don’t let fear play the host.
It’s shelter that you need, you seek, you find.

Hunker down behind closed doors,
brick-safe, food stock-piled, troops deployed in post
to save, sustain, protect you from the bully’s roar.

Sit it out, bide your time, ride the storm,
cross-legged tell your stories, chatter, banter, brag, boast.
Share your lives, wait for peace to be re-born.

Return, distraught at the apocalyptic scene,
scour the flotsam, the scattered debris where you supposed
your hut, your house, your life, your home once had been.

Your tears dispel the anger, unfold the pain.
Phailin’s energy is spent, dispersed, disposed
across the land where you must find the strength to start again.


13th October 2013 – headline from the Guardian

Notes:  “Cyclone Phailin: 500,000 homes evacuated as storm pounds India.”  Mass evacuation of towns and villages on India’s eastern coast limited the death toll as 135mph winds forced huge waves inland.  Towns and villages have been flooded and thousands of homes destroyed after a super-cyclone crashed ashore in eastern India. But initial indications suggested few people had died after more than 500,000 had left the region before the storm hit.  The vast weather system – cyclone Phailin – generated winds of up to 135mph (220km/h) and forced huge waves far inland before it struck the shores of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states late on Saturday.  But the storm weakened as it made landfall. Officials said they knew of only seven fatalities but the final death toll is expected to climb, and parts of the cyclone-battered coast remain isolated by broken communication links and blocked roads. Initial indications were that the government’s evacuation operation saved many lives.

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