Cyclone Hudhud: Odisha deploys NDRF, set to evacuate 3.5 lakh people

With the meteorological department issuing warning on the "very severe cyclonic storm" set to hit the coast near Visakhapatnam on Sunday, Odisha government on Friday deployed NDRF and ODRF to evacuate around 3.5 lakh people.

Bhubaneswar: With the meteorological department issuing warning on the "very severe cyclonic storm" set to hit the coast near Visakhapatnam on Sunday, Odisha government on Friday deployed NDRF and ODRF to evacuate around 3.5 lakh people.

As the cyclonic storm Hudhud is all set to cross north Andhra Pradesh near Vishakhapatanam, Odisha government deployed 25 units - (each comprising 40 personnel), 15 of NDRF and 10 of ODRF besides fire service men in vulnerable places in different parts of the state.

The IMD has issued Orange Message on the impending storm.

"As southern region is likely to be more affected by wind, heavy rainfall and consequent floods, collectors of eight districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Kandhamal, have been asked to carefully assess and evacuate all vulnerable population to safe buildings," Chief Secretary G C Pati told reporters.

As cyclone and flood situation are new for the tribal population in these districts, the administration have been facing difficulty to convince the people for evacuation.

"We have engaged public announcement system and local community leaders to ensure that all the people living in kutcha houses are taken to safe places by tomorrow forenoon," Pati said.

"We have asked the collectors that no one should remain inside 'kutcha houses' in Malkangiri district. All the people living in 'kutcha' houses need to be evacuated to safe place," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said, adding this was being done keeping the state's commitment of "zero casualty" as target.

Sources said about 3 lakh to 3.5 lakh people including those living in the coast of Ganjam would be evacuated.

The SRC also asked the district authorities to start free kitchen where evacuation is undertaken. The districts are also told to stock adequate quantity of dryfood, he said.

Though the state government was expecting that the maximum wind speed in the areas adjoining Andhra Pradesh would remain within 100 kmph, it feared that heavy rainfall could create problem for the people. "The rainfall could be in the range of 10 cm to 25 cm within a span of only 36 hours from tomorrow afternoon," said Mohapatra.

He said besides the eight identified districts, many other places would also receive rainfall from tomorrow afternoon till Monday afternoon as per the IMD prediction.

Preparations were made to deal with possible flood in rivers like Rushikulya, Bamsadhara and Nagavali due to heavy rains that would accompany the cyclone.

As a precautionary measure 35 trains passing through the east coast would be cancelled while several others diverted, East Coast Railway (ECoR) said in a release here.

The chief secretary said the Centre has assured the state government to keep some choppers ready at Kalaikonda air base in West Bengal for the purpose of air dropping of food packets in the affected areas.

The state has received 14 satellite phones and "the Centre has also send eight more NDRF teams as per our request," Pati said.

Meanwhile, the IMD in its latest bulletin said the very Severe Cyclonic Storm 'Hudhud' over west central Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards and intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm.

The system lay centered at 1430 hours near latitude 15.0?N and longitude 86.8?E about 520 km south-southeast of Gopalpur. "The system would move west-northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh coast around Visakhapatnam by the forenoon of October 12, 2014," it said.

The weather office predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall at one or two places over South Odisha during next 24 hours and heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places over districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nawarangpur, Ganjam, Gajpati, Kalahandi and Phulbani of South Odisha in subsequent 48 hours.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall at one or two places in districts of Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Nuapara, Boudh, Sonepur and Bolangir during the same period.

The IMD has suggested for hoisting Local Cautionary Signal Number Three (LC-III) at all ports in Odisha.

Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph from Northeast direction would prevail along and off Odisha coasts and the wind speed would increase to 80-90 kmph along and off Odisha coast from October 11 evening.

Sea condition would be rough to very rough, it said.

The IMD said that the south Odisha coasts- (Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput and Malkangiri districts) could cause damage to thatched huts. Breaking of tree branches causing minor damage to power and communication lines. Uprooting of small trees. Damage to agricultural crops.

The IMD said total suspension of fishing operations along and off Odisha Coast. Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea.

The state government has meanwhile cancelled the holiday tomorrow (second Saturday) and October 12 (Sunday) during which all offices of the state government including PSUs will remain open.

Chief Minister through video conferencing with seven district collectors has said that the target of the administration should be "zero casualty."  

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