22 June, 2021

'People Were Blown Away'

Savage winds and implacably rising waters: days of sheer terror

'People Were Blown Away'

At Paradip we were staying at the Golden Anchor Hotel, which is a stone's throw away from the beach and lighthouse. On October 28, it started raining in the afternoon and by evening the wind, blowing in a northwest direction, had already reached speeds of 50-60 kmph. Next morning, by around 3 am, the wind-speed was around 120 kmph. Two hours later, birds and then even human beings were being blown away. Amidst the violent rattling of the window panes in the hotel, water slowly started entering into the rooms through the windows and door-gaps. Visibility was rapidly decreasing and as the wind, changing direction started to blow east-west, it seemed to gather more force and at 8:37 am the door and windows on the second and third floor were blown off.

All the 30 residents of the hotel had by now collected in the corridor. As per meteorological broadcasts, the wind speed should've started reducing after 2 pm but it was the other way round, and by 3:30 pm the cyclone was at its peak and all that was visible was a white screen all around the hotel. By 5 pm it was totally dark and...

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