With barely 24 hours left for Phailin to hit the coast, the Odisha 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.
“Those unwilling to move are being forced to leave. We will evacuate seven lakh people from seven districts by Saturday morning,” said P. K. Mohapatra, special relief commissioner.
Seventeen MI-17 helicopters, two AM-13 and 10 helicopters have been kept standby for mass rescue and rehabilitation. Some 300 army engineers have been mobilized to clear roads. Twenty five special air-lifters have also been kept ready.
The State government has already procured 4000 quintals of sugar from Raipur and 4000 quintals flattened rice from Bangalore for relief. At Kalinga Stadium here, volunteers have started packing dry food for air-dropping. The State government has also stocked diesel in large quantities to ensure power supply to key establishments such as hospitals. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took stock of the situation at the State secretariat where senior minister and officials were present.