Cyclone Amphan: Odisha starts evacuating people

Bhubaneswar, May 18 (IANS) The District Collectors of cyclone Amphan vulnerable areas had started evacuating people as the cyclone was likely to make landfall between West Bengal and Bangladesh on May 20, said the Odisha government, here on Monday.
“As per the latest report from the Collectors, evacuation of people from vulnerable areas has started. We are targeting to complete all evacuation work by tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena.
About 600 multi-purpose cyclone shelters and 7,092 other permanent buildings with cumulative capacity to accommodate nearly 12 lakh people have been identified in 12 districts.
It has also been directed to arrange adequate food, drinking water, lighting, sanitation and health facility at each shelter and keep the tower light and chainsaw and other emergency equipment ready to meet any eventuality.
Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said the government was taking all the measures even though cyclone Ampan might not make landfall in the state. “Given our past experiences, we are not taking it lightly. Preparations are in full swing to meet any eventuality,” he said.
The government has deputed four senior IAS officers and equal number of IPS officers to four coastal districts to provide guidance and support to the district administrations in the cyclone Amphan management.
Transport Secretary Madhu Sudan Padhi, Chief Electoral Officer Sushil Kumar Lohani, Industries Secretary Hemant Sharma and Higher Education Secretary Saswat Mishra have been deputed to Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, respectively.
Similarly, IPS officers Diptesh Kumar Pattanayak, Ghanashyam Upadhyay, Asish Kumar Singh and Jai Narayan Pankaj have been deputed to Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, respectively.
Jena said 20 teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 19 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 335 units of the Fire and Disaster Management had been kept in readiness to be pressed into the service.
He said 13 NDRF, 15 ODRAF and 217 Fire Service teams had been positioned in 6 coastal and 5 nearby districts. The rest 11 (6 NDRF and 5 ODRAF) teams had been kept in standby to be pressed into the service, as per the requirement. 10 Fire Service Units with 100 people had also been kept in standby, he added.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), squally wind speed reaching 45-55 km/h gusting to 65 km/h is likely to hit the south Odisha coast from May 18 evening and increase to 55-65 km/h, gusting to 75 km/h and extend to along and off north Odisha coast from May 19 morning.
The wind speed will increase and would turn into gale reaching 75-85 km/h gusting to 95 km/h from May 20 morning along and off north Odisha coast (Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj.
It would gradually increase to 110-120 km/h, gusting to 135 km/h along and off the districts of north Odisha, said the IMD.

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