Bhubaneswar, May 1 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said that about eight lakh people would be evacuated in view of “extremely severe” cyclonic storm Fani, which is likely to hit the coast in Puri on May 3 afternoon.
Chairing a high-level review meeting, he directed to ensure 100 per cent evacuation in the vulnerable areas as every life is precious, and set the goal to achieve zero-casualty.
He said about eight lakh people would be evacuated to safer places by Thursday. evening.
“I appeal to everyone that the children, women, old and disabled be evacuated first. All precautions have been taken to face the cyclone. We are fully prepared to tackle the cyclone Fani,” said Patnaik.
The Chief Minister also emphasised on early restoration of power-water supply and road communication in affected areas.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Fani is expected to touch Odisha coast south of Puri on the afternoon of May 3 with wind speeds ranging up to 180 kmph causing heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of the state.
The cyclone is likely to impact coastal districts including Ganjam, Gajapati, Khordha, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore, the IMD said.
It also warned of storm surge of about 1.5 meter height which may inundate low-lying coastal areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts at the time of landfall.
India Navy, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard have been put on high alert to meet any eventuality due to the cyclone.
Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire service have been deployed in vulnerable areas in the districts likely to be affected by the cyclone.
All 28 teams of NDRF, 20 ODRAF units and other fire service units have been dispatched to areas on a priority basis.
The state government has assigned 12 IAS and 11 IPS officers to supervise the relief, rehabilitation and restoration work in the affected districts.
Collectors in all coastal and adjoining districts of Gajapati, Nayagarh, Khordha, Cuttack, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj have been advised to identify all vulnerable people living in “kutcha” houses or living near the coast or in low-lying areas, said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi.
The vulnerable people will be shifted to multipurpose cyclone/ flood shelters and other safe shelters.
Arrangements have already been made for free kitchen, safe drinking water, lighting, health and sanitation facilities at the shelters, he added.
In all, 879 multipurpose cyclone/ flood shelters are kept in readiness for sheltering people to be evacuated.
The government has cancelled leaves and holidays of all the officials in the Energy Department as part of preparedness in view of the possible damage to power supply and distribution during the cyclone.
All kinds of leaves of doctors and health staff have been cancelled up to May 15. The Health Department had asked all those on leave to report back to respective headquarters by Wednesday evening.
The tourists have been advised to leave Puri by the evening of May 2 and non-essential travel must be cancelled during Friday and Saturday to the likely-affected districts. District Emergency Operation Centres and control rooms of other offices have been activated and functioning round the clock.
At least 81 trains have been cancelled by the East Coast Railway (ECoR) in Odisha in view of the cyclonic storm Fani, said an official.
The rail passengers are advised to plan their journey accordingly.
The train services between Odisha’s Bhadrak and Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram have been suspended and inward trains towards Bhubaneswar and Puri will be restricted from the evening of May 2.
The East Coast Express and Coromondal Express will not run from Howrah on May 2. Besides, trains for Puri from Howrah on May 2 night has also been cancelled.