NDRF teams, choppers, naval divers kept ready
The district administration has geared up its machinery to face the threat posed by Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Lehar and appealed to the people to observe precautions issued to them from time to time.
Fishermen were asked to suspend their operations with immediate effect. A holiday has been declared for all educational institutions on November 28. The storm is expected to make a landfall near Kakinada on Thursday afternoon.
The district administration appointed special officers for all mandals and decided to evacuate 40,000 people from 55 habitations located on the coast on Wednesday. District Collector Solomon Arokia Raj said all arrangements have been made to face the threat as weathermen predicted that at the time of crossing the wind speed was expected to reach 180 to 200 kmph. The wave action will be very severe due to sea surge. Waves with height of two to three metres may inundate some areas.
Thatched/tiled houses will bear the brunt of destruction with heavy damage expected to power, telephone and communication installations. Trees will be uprooted disrupting traffic at various places.
Six teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Odisha will be deployed, each with 20 members carrying high capacity inflatable boats, in the city and Rambilli, Payakaraopeta, Elamanchili and S. Rayavaram.
The district officials held talks with the mobile companies and asked them to keep generator backup so as to ensure mobile services for three days from Thursday in the event of power breakdown. Some mobile operators agreed to send text messages on weather to them on Wednesday.
Mr. Arokia Raj told reporters after a review meeting that 20 naval diving teams would be positioned in the city for undertaking relief and rescue operations. Two helicopters would be available for emergency from INS Dega airport. Two teams of fire personnel each comprising 20 men will be posted at Elamanchili and Anakapalle to undertake tree cutting and road clearance operations. One column of Army would be requisitioned, he informed.
The Collector said for every 50 km. of highway, they would deploy one crane and ambulance and appealed to the people to stay indoors and those in the affected areas to move to relief camps.
He said he held talks with railways and APSRTC and requested them to regulate services so as to not put commuters into inconvenience by taking decisions in to either cancel or terminate or divert services at the time of the storm hitting the coast.