"The cyclone had its impact in different districts of Odisha like Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Puri, Kalahandi and Kendrapara," Patnaik said.

68,000 people have been evacuated to safe places, the chief minister said, directing the officials to continue the evacuation of people from vulnerable areas as the complete impact of the cyclone would be felt some hours after the landfall.

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The affected people have been accommodated in 604 shelter homes, Patnaik said, adding the state government was prepared to face the situation caused by the cyclone and possible floods thereafter.

Patnaik, who reviewed the situation at the Special Relief Commissioners (SRC) office here, also enquired about the water reservoir positions at different places particularly in southern districts where the cyclone Hudhud had its maximum impact, officials said.

Of about 68,000 persons evacuated by noon on Sunday, 30,000 people had been shifted to safety in Gajapati district followed by 13,282 in Koraput and 7,900 in Ganjam district, special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

Under the impact of the cyclone, the entire coastal and southern region experienced moderate to heavy rainfall since early morning though the maximum wind speed was below 60 kmph.

However, the weather office predicted an increase in the wind speed in eight southern districts. The state government has identified the eight districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal and Kalahandi which will bear the maximum brunt of the cyclone.

The administration has kept Army teams and choppers standby for rescue and relief operations besides deploying NDRF and ODRAF personnel. "We have been working to ensure zero casualty," SRC Mohapatra said.

Under the impact of the cyclone, heavy rains pounded many parts of Malkangiri, Ganjam, Khurda, Gajapati, Puri and Rayagada districts, while strong surface wind swept several areas.

The state capital of Bhubaneswar also experienced rains since last night and the intensity of rain and wind flow is gradually gaining pace as Hudhud roared towards the coast.

As a precautionary measure, the Railways have cancelled operation of 58 trains and diverted route of 50 other trains.

The cancellation and diversions were effected by East Coast Railways, South Eastern Railways and South Central Railways, ECoR chief public relations officer J P Mishra said.

To deal with the calamity, as many 26 teams - 16 of NDRF and 10 teams of ODRF - have already been deployed in vulnerable places for rescue work, according to Chief Secretary G C Pati. Each team comprises 40 personnel.

"We have been assured by the Centre that army teams will be ready at Raipur in Chhattisgarh and 5 choppers at Kalaikunda in West Bengal for our call," he said.

"We have appealed to the public in the eight districts not to venture out of their houses during the landfall of the cyclone and six hours after that," Mohapatra said, adding BSNL had been requested to send SMS to its users urging them not to venture out.

According to the latest IMD bulletin, rain and thundershowers would occur at most places in the state during the next 48 hours.

Similarly, heavy to very heavy rainfall in some places with extremely heavy rainfall is expected at one or two places in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nawarangpur, Ganjam, Gajpati, Kalahandi and Phulbani of South Odisha in the next 24 hours, said local IMD centre Director Sarat Sahu.

Three killed as cyclone Hudhud crosses Andhra coast

Three persons were killed in rain-related incidents as cyclone Hudhud crossed the Visakhapatnam coast on SUndayuprooting trees and damaging power lines.

"Three deaths have been reported due to the impact of Hudhud cyclone. Two died after trees fell on them and one in collapse of compound-wall in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts, respectively," Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary IVR Krishna Rao said.

During the cyclone, winds with 195-200 kmph speed have been reported causing uprooting of a lot of trees. The wind has also damaged electrical poles and mobile towers. Due to fall of electric poles, electricity and communication network have been effected in the area, he said.

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