Powerful Cyclone Hits India

Powerful Cyclone Hits India

As Cyclone Phailin hit the Bay of Bengal in India on Saturday (October 12) it flooded thousands of homes, killed at least five people and forced 800,000 others to evacuate.

In anticipation, amateur radio operators were ready to provide emergency communications and help spread up-to-date information on the storms damage and path.

Many mud homes and farms were destroyed, and uprooted trees blocked roads. The windy and wet  Cyclone had deluged some areas causing one of the largest evacuations in India's history.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he had directed the central government extend all needed assistance to state officials.

The National Institute of Amateur Radio reports that it has several ham radio operators involved. The cyclone did weaken when it reached the coast, but its impact is still severe.

Jose Jacob VU2JOS and VU2MCW Mukesh Kumar Gola VU2MCW are to reach Odisha and begin operating.

During the Paradwip Cyclone in 1999, the Chief Minister's house was without power and telecommunications. It was then ham radio operators who provided a link to rescuers and the outside world.

In the current disaster the army, air force and navy are helping in rescue and relief operations. However more details are not immediately known due to the large population involved and the normal slowness of official data.

(Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee).