Cyclone Amphan: Odisha govt steps up efforts for evacuation

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Cyclone Amphan: Odisha govt steps up efforts for evacuation
Bhubaneswar, May 19 (IANS) With extremely severe cyclone 'Amphan' inching closer towards the Odisha coast, the state government has stepped up efforts for evacuation of people from vulnerable areas.

The cyclone, which will make landfall between West Bengal and Bangladesh coast during Wednesday afternoon or evening as a very severe cyclonic storm, has already started triggering rainfall in several parts of Odisha, said H.R. Biswas, Bhubaneswar MeT centre director.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena said the evacuation of people living in low-lying areas, thatched and mud structures in the coastal districts is under progress and it will be completed by 10 pm.

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"As per information received from districts, over 35,000 people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas and shifted to safe shelters by 3 pm. It is expected to continue till 10 pm today," said Jena.

He appealed to the people to cooperate with the administration and move to the cyclone shelters for their safety.

A total of 634 multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters and 7,092 other permanent buildings with cumulative capacity to accommodate more than 12 lakh people are kept ready in 12 districts.

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"In addition to PRI and local administration, we are using local based alert system (LBAS) and self broadcasting system for extending our outreach to people without creating panic among them," said Jena.

The SRC said damages to public and private properties is expected in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts.

There may be total destruction of thatched and kutcha houses, power and communication poles, standing crops and roads, and minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems.

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In order to meet any eventuality, as many 16 units of National Disaster Response Force, 15 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 75 teams of Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) and 217 fire service teams have been deployed in the likely to be affected districts.

Three NDRF units, 5 ODRAF units, 17 teams of fire service and 10 OFDC teams are kept on standby to be pressed into service. Besides, additional 2 teams of NDRF from 10th Battalion Vijayawada have been mobilised for the same.

Chief secretary Asit Tripathy said four senior officers with vast experience in handling natural calamities have been deputed to different districts to guide the local administration.

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Earlier, the chief secretary held a meeting with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba through video conferencing on Tuesday.

The issues relating to evacuation of people from vulnerable areas, relief, rescue, storing of essential commodities and immediate restoration of road communication, power connectivity etc were discussed.

Meanwhile, several ports in the state have taken precautionary measures to face the cyclonic storm.

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The ports have cancelled inward movement of all vessels while berths have also been vacated. All vessels anchored are to move before the beginning of cyclonic weather conditions, informed Jagdish Chandra Rout, Associate Vice President, Shapoorji Pallonji Port Division, Gopalpur Port Limited.

--IANS

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