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Cyclone Yaas: Odisha mobilises forces, evacuates people

A police person announces cyclone related warnings at a beach in Puri on May 22, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Odisha government on Monday said it mobilised large groups of disaster response forces and evacuated people from low-lying areas with the very severe cyclonic storm Yaas likely to make landfall near Balasore along the West Bengal border on May 26.

 

“The deep depression over the Bay of Bengal has developed into cyclonic storm. It is moving in north and north-westerly direction and likely to hit anywhere between Paradip and Sagar islands. Though the India Meteorological Department had not identified specific area for landfall, there is a very high probability of it doing between Dharmra of Bhadrak and Chandipur of Balasore district,” said Pradeep Kumar Jena, Special Relief Commissioner, here on Monday.

 

“The wind speed is expected to vary between 120 kmph and 160 km kmph gusting up to 185 kmph. Rainfall is likely to be in the range of 300 mm and storm surge of 3-4 metre. Extensive preparation has been made for evacuating people from low-lying areas, storm-surge prone pockets and vulnerable households,” he said.

10 districts on alert

Northern Odisha districts of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar have been included in the disaster preparedness plan, which was earlier planned for Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts. The government, however, alerted 10 districts that could bear the brunt of wind and associate heavy rain.

“We have already deployed 22 units of the National Disaster Response Forces, 50 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Forces, 175 fire service teams and 35 specialised-tree cutting teams,” he said.

 

Mr. Jena said Odisha had also requested an additional 30 units of the NDRF which would be arriving by Monday evening and they would all be deployed.

 

Besides, the government has mobilised 500 road clearance teams and 10,000-12,000 manpower skilled in restoration of energy infrastructure. COVID-19 hospitals are ready with standby power, oxygen, drinking water and food materials.

 

As far as evacuation is concerned, the government is facing the twin challenge of shifting a large number of people to safer places while following COVID-19 guidelines. Additional cyclone shelters have been identified for the patients.

 

The State government has cancelled leave of all officials. It has also suspended COVID-19 testing, vaccination and door-to-door survey in Balasore, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj districts from May 25 to 27. Additional teams of doctors have been rushed to Balasore and Bhadrak district to assist in smooth management of COVID-19 related work in to-be cyclone affected areas.

Wear double mask: Naveen Patnaik

 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urged people to wear double mask to avoid spiralling of COVID-19 infection during the evacuation, rescue and restoration operations.

Additional DG (Law and Order) Y.K. Jethwa visited Balasore and Bhadrak to review the evacuation and preparedness plans.

 

“As many as 60 ODRAF formations and 55 platoons armed forces have been deployed in the districts likely to be impacted,” he said.

 

Balasore has an 84-km coastline covered by 10 police stations, including three Marine police stations.

 

The 90,789 residents of 43 villages in 26 gram panchayats located near the coast in low lying areas and others living in kuccha houses have been identified for evacuation. About 140 cyclone shelters and 1,102 alternative shelters have been readied.

 

Similarly, Bhadrak has a 54-km coastline covered by eight police stations, including three Marine stations. The 94,369 residents of 41 villages in 14 gram panchayats have been identified for evacuation to 104 shelters and 661 alternative shelters.

 

The government has directed five senior IAS officers and an equal number of senior IPS officers to oversee the preparedness and rescue and relief operations in Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Mayurbhanj districts.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 3:22:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cyclone-yaas-odisha-launches-a-challenging-evacuation-in-coastal-areas/article34632387.ece

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