While cyclonic storm Fani had the potential to cause devastation in terms of loss of lives and property in Odisha, several pre-emptive measures initiated from April 23 at the first signs of formation of depression resulted in no loss of lives and property at sea, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said on Sunday as rescue and relief efforts continued in affected areas.
“On April 23 with the first sign of a feeble low pressure, deciphered the likely trajectory of the cyclone Fani based on various inputs from India Meteorological Department (IMD) and other metrological predictions and initiated various steps from April 24 onwards including risk assessment of the vulnerabilities on the East coast, weather advisories to fisheries department, fisheries associations, local administrations and ports,” ICG said in a statement.
All seven ICG stations and six ICG district headquarters on the East coast were put on alert and around 14 ICG ships and four aircraft were tasked daily at sea to warn fishing and merchant marine community. The ships, aircraft and shore based remote operating stations relayed warning to fishing and merchant mariners on Very High Frequency (VHF) along the entire East Coast, ICG stated.
Stating that warnings were also broadcasted in vernacular languages for the benefit of local fishing community, ICG said special community interaction programmes were conducted at 13 fishing hamlets with participation of local community leaders to ensure no fishing boat ventures at sea.
Cyclone Fani made landfall in Odisha on Saturday morning causing widespread destruction. But with adequate preparation and over a million people evacuated to safety, loss of lives remained less.
ICG Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC) at Chennai and Mumbai were tasked to update the merchant ships over Navigational Telex and International Safety Net. Oil installations and rigs were alerted and their safety status was verified.
In preparation for the impact, ICG and Navy ships were stocked up with food packets, potable water and relief material and disaster response and medical teams were positioned in vulnerable areas which swung into action as soon as Fani hit the coast.