Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Saturday directed Chief Secretary to monitor the preparedness for cyclone ‘Phailin’ with District Collectors and officials of defence forces and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
Mr. Reddy enquired about the cyclone situation this morning and directed the officials to be on high alert and ready to deal with any eventuality, official sources said.
State Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy reached Visakhapatnam this morning and would proceed to Srikakulam district, bordering Odisha, which is expected to be among the worst-hit.
Talking to reporters in Visakhapatnam, the Minister said all departments concerned have been put on alert.
Fishermen, who went for fishing, were being brought back.
Medical Education Minister K Murali Mohan and senior officials are closely monitoring the situation in Srikakulam district, the sources said.
The Srikakulam Collector has already ordered closure of shops and various institutions and also controlled movement of vehicular traffic as wind speed is expected to be very high.
As many as 52,000 residents were today evacuated and 25,000 people accommodated in cyclone shelters in Srikakulam district.
Meanwhile, over 80,000 people have been so far evacuated from the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, which are likely to be hit by cyclone ‘Phailin’, official sources said.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held a review meeting with ministers, chief secretary, DGP and other top officials in Hyderabad this afternoon.
He directed that maximum number of people should be evacuated to safer places, the sources said.
Reddy instructed the officials to take all measures needed for the rescue and relief operations in the districts which will be affected by the cyclone.
The rescue and relief teams of Army, Navy, Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and police should plunge into action to protect the lives and property of the people and cattle, the sources quoted him as saying.
The Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam has kept the landing platform dock of ‘INS Jalashwa’ on stand-by to proceed with dispatch to the most-affected areas of Odisha in the aftermath of the cyclone.
INS Jalashwa, the second largest combatant of the Indian Navy, is ideally equipped to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support and hospital ship operations.
The Navy has deployed additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief materials, including food, tents, clothes, medicines, blankets etc, in quantities sufficient to sustain over 5,000 personnel for three days, according to a Naval release on Saturday.
Meanwhile, six advance diving teams with inflatable boats, rescue material and satellite equipment, have left for Odisha by road, and will operate from ‘INS Chilka’, 50 km north of Gopalapatnam where the cyclone is expected to make the landfall.
These personnel will be assisted by four platoons from the local Naval station and doctors from ‘INHS Nivarini’ in their rescue and relief efforts.
The Eastern Naval Command is monitoring the developments closely and is in constant communication with the state administration to augment the rescue and relief operations.
Six helicopters are on the stand-by at the Naval Air Station ‘INS Dega’ to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded, according to the release.
Additionally, four naval ships, 30 diving teams, four platoons with composite satellite communication and additional relief material, are ready to be pressed into action at short notice, all along the East Coast from Visakhapatnam to Paradip, the release added.
Meanwhile, the South Central Railway (SCR) has set up helpline numbers at major stations for passengers to seek information regarding movement of trains in the view of cyclonic conditions prevailing in the east coast region, a release said here.
The helpline numbers are available at major stations like Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Kazipet, Warangal, Khammam and Manchiryal Railway stations, the release said.