Bhubaneswar: With Cyclone Hudhud set to hit the coast in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, heavy rains coupled with high-speed wind lashed several parts of south Odisha where over 45,000 people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas to safety.
Though the very severe cyclonic storm is likely to make a landfall near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha government has braced for the calamity and kept Army teams and choppers on standby for rescue and relief operations besides deploying NDRF and ODRAF personnel.
An estimated 45,000 people have so far been evacuated in eight districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Kalahandi to ensure zero casualty, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.
Under the influence of the cyclone ahead of its landfall, heavy rains pounded many parts of Malkangiri, Ganjam, Khurda, Gajapati, Puri and Rayagada districts, while strong surface wind swept several areas.
The state capital of Bhubaneswar also experienced rains since last night and the intensity of rain and wind flow is gradually gaining pace as Hudhud roared towards the coast.
To deal with the calamity, as many 26 teams - 16 of NDRF and 10 teams of ODRF - have already been deployed in vulnerable places for rescue work, according to Chief Secretary G C Pati. Each team comprises 40 personnel.
"We have been assured by the Centre that army teams will be ready at Raipur in Chhattisgarh and 5 choppers at Kalaikunda in West Bengal for our call," he said.
As a precautionary measure, East Coast Railways cancelled train services on Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatanam route, while the state government has stopped bus service in five districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Nabarangpur and parts of Kalahandi. The private bus operators have also been asked not to operate service tomorrow.
"We have appealed to the public in the eight districts not to venture out of their houses during the landfall of the cyclone and six hours after that," Mohapatra said, adding BSNL had been requested to send SMS to its users urging them not to venture out.
According to the latest IMD bulletin, rain and thundershowers would occur at most places in the state during the next 48 hours.
Similarly, heavy to very heavy rainfall in some places with extremely heavy rainfall is expected at one or two places in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nawarangpur, Ganjam, Gajpati, Kalahandi and Phulbani of South Odisha in the next 24 hours, said local IMD centre Director Sarat Sahu.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall has been forecast at one or two places in Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Dhenkanal and Maurbhanj during the same period.