New Delhi: Massive preparedness, speedy evacuation plans and almost accurate prediction of cyclone time and path have saved the country from a natural disaster which could have taken thousands of live.
Thanks to the forecast of Indian Meteorological Department, coordination efforts of Home Ministry, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh governments and National Disaster Management Authority, the impact of cyclone Phailin was minimum, especially in terms of casualties, along the eastern coastline which faced the nature`s fury.
"Our efforts have paid off well. The cyclone impact was minimum," vice-chairman of NDMA M Shasidhar Reddy said.
A super cyclone, which had hit Odisha in 1999, left close to 10,000 people dead.
This time, the government seems to have woken up well on time and successfully evacuated nearly six lakh people in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and put them in more than 500 cyclone shelters.
The cyclone shelters constructed under the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project, a World Bank-assisted initiative, have two-storeyed structures and can withstand wind-speeds up to 300 kmph.
At the landfall in Odisha`s Gopalpur, cyclone Phailin was hovering around at a wind-speeds of over 200 kmph.
Government has also engaged more than 3,000 personnel of National Disaster Response Force, 2,000 personnel of Army in its evacuation plan and kept 18 helicopters, 12 aircraft and two war ships ready for rescue and relief operations.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy directed Chief Secretary P K Mohanti and the administration to shift focus on speedy rescue and relief measures in areas hit by cyclone `Phailin`, particularly in Srikakulam district.
The chief minister spoke to the chief secretary this morning and inquired about the situation in the wake of the cyclone crossing the cost.
Official sources quoted the chief secretary as saying that all rescue and relief teams are in place for taking up operations.
The CS said no scope was left for any casualty due to the adequate preparedness on the part of state government.