Bhubaneswar, April 30 (IANS) The Odisha government on Tuesday requested the Centre to provide two helicopters and additional National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams for evacuation of affected people as cyclone Fani is likely to hit the coast of the state on May 3.
“We have requested the Cabinet Secretary to position two helicopters for air-dropping relief material. Besides, we have asked for additional NDRF teams to carry out the rescue operation,” said chief secretary A.P. Padhi.
Padhi said the impact of the cyclone will be maximum on Odisha.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that the cyclone will first hit Puri district after which it will move northwards towards Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapada, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj, he added.
Padhi said the evacuation process will begin from the morning of May 2. People from low-lying areas will be evacuated to nearby cyclone shelters, schools and other safe places.
As many as 879 cyclone shelters are ready. Besides, 20 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units and 335 fire services units are on stand-by.
A total of 28 NDRF teams, including extra 10 teams, are rushing from outside Odisha to assist during the cyclone. They will be in propositioning locations cross coastal districts, said an official.
In a letter to all district collectors, Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi has asked the officers to urgently start preventive measures in their respective areas to minimise the damage.
He asked for shifting people from vulnerable areas to safe shelters on a priority. Livestock and domestic animals in vulnerable areas should also be evacuated to safer places.
The district authorities have also been directed to take special care to shift the old, physically challenged, women and children before Fani makes landfall.
Bhubaneswar Met centre director H.R. Biswas said the speed of the cyclone at the time of landfall will be 175-185 km per hour.
He said cyclone will move along the coast of Odisha towards West Bengal.
According to the IMD, heavy to very heavy rain is expected to lash the south coastal districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda and Puri on May 2.