Army, Naval personnel kept on the ready

With barely 24 hours left for Phailin to hit the coast, the State government on Friday evacuated three lakh people from low-lying areas to safer places while keeping disaster response teams, Indian Army and Indian Navy personnel on readiness.

The State government also made massive preparation for rescue and rehabilitation operation. Seventeen MI-17 helicopters, two AM-13 and 10 helicopters have been kept standby looking at the severity of storm.

Besides, 300 army engineers have been mobilised to clear roads and fix other technical difficulties as authorities were expecting worst kind of scenario. Twenty five special air-lifters have also been kept ready.

“We are evacuating people from low-lying areas. Those who are unwilling to move are being forced to leave the place. We will evacuate seven lakh people from seven districts by tomorrow morning,” said P. K. Mohapatra, special relief commissioner, here on Friday.

For precautionary measures, the State government has already imported 4000 quintals of sugar from Raipur and 4000 flattened rice from Bangalore. At Kalinga Stadium here, volunteers have started packing dry food for air-dropping.

The State government also stocked diesel in large quantity to ensure power supply to key establishment including medicals.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took stock of the situation at State secretariat where senior Minister and officials were present.

Bhubaneswar Metrological Centre Director S. C. Sahu said the very severe cyclonic storm, Phailin over east central Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards and lay centred over west central and adjoining Bay of Bengal about 440 km. south-southeast of Paradip and 450 km. southeast of Gopalpur.

It would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by evening of Saturday with a maximum sustained wind speed of 210-220 kmph.

Predictions

Heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over districts of South Odisha and heavy rainfall at one or two places in North Odisha districts during next 12 hours. The alarm has been categorised as orange.

As per predictions, storm surge with height of around 3 metre above astronomical tide would inundate low-lying areas of Ganjam, Khorda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts during landfall. Apart from storm surge, seven districts namely Ganjam, Gajapati, Nayagarh, Khorda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts are likely to be highly affected on account of high wind and heavy rainfall.