With the very severe cyclonic storm ‘Lehar’ moving towards the Andhra Pradesh coast, the Odisha government on Tuesday rushed disaster management personnel to ten districts to tackle flash floods in the event of heavy rain and also took measures to protect standing crops.

“According to IMD prediction, cyclone Lehar will not have much impact on the state. However, we have to remain prepared for the flash floods due to possible heavy rain in southern districts,” said Development Commissioner I. Srinivas after attending a review meeting by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Mr. Srinivas said the Chief Minister has directed to rush personnel of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) to ten districts.

The districts which could experience heavy rainfall during land fall of cyclone Lehar are Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Balangir and Sonepur, Puri and Khurda.

“Besides, the district collectors have also been asked to take steps to protect the standing crop in the field as they may be affected due to heavy rainfall,” the Development Commissioner said, adding that the state government was fully prepared to face the situation.

Meanwhile, a bulletin issued by the IMD said that the very severe cyclonic storm Lehar over southeast Bay of Bengal moved westwards with a speed of 15 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 1130 hours IST on Tuesday over southeast Bay of Bengal near latitude 12.50 N and longitude 89.50 E, about 900 km Southeast of Gopalpur.

“The system would intensify further and move west—northwestwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machilipatnam and Kalingapatnam near Kakinada around noon of November 28,” it said, adding that Distant Warning Signal Number Two (DW-II) has been kept hoisted at Paradip and Gopalpur ports in Odisha.

Fishermen who are in the deep sea are advised to return to the coast immediately. Sea condition will be rough to very rough after 12 hours, it said.