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NDRF on high alert as Cyclone Fani likely to become very severe

On a request by the four states most likely to be hit by Fani, the Home Ministry has assured them of releasing in advance the first instalment of the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).

NDRF on high alert as Cyclone Fani likely to become very severe
File photo used only for representational purpose.

New Delhi: Coastal states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal will be on high alert as the cyclone storm `Fani` is "very likely" to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm in next 24 hours, the Indian Meteorological Department warned on Monday evening.

Fani is expected to move northwestwards till Wednesday and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards towards the Odisha coast.

Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha on Monday took stock of the situation, arising out of the storm that has been intensifying in the in southeast Bay of Bengal, at a National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meeting here, a Home Ministry statement said.

The meeting followed directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is closely monitoring the situation.

The IMD has warned of light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy rainfall at isolated places in Kerala on Monday and Tuesday.

There are chances of light to moderate rainfall in north coastal Tamil Nadu and south coastal Andhra Pradesh as well.

On Thursday, light to moderate rainfall is "very likely" over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha, which is expected to increase in intensity to heavy to very heavy rainfall.

On Friday, light to moderate rainfall with heavy falls is "very likely" to commence over coastal districts of West Bengal. 

Strong winds of 80-100 kmph are prevailing over southeast Bay of Bengal and its neighbourhood, the IMD said. 

These are very likely to increase gradually, becoming 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph on Tuesday and to 185 kmph on Wednesday, the IMD warned.

Sea conditions are likely to be "rough to very rough" along and off Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts till Wednesday.

The IMD has advised fishermen not to venture into deep sea areas of Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

The NCMC will again meet on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

"During the meeting, officers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal confirmed their full preparedness to deal with any emerging situation arising out of the cyclonic storm. 

"The state governments have adequately warned fishermen not to venture into the sea and highlighted that there is a seasonal ban on fishing in sea up to June 14 due to the breeding season," said the statement.

On a request by the states, the ministry assured them of releasing in advance the first instalment of the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF), added the statement. 

Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal attended the meeting through video conference. Senior officers from the Central ministries and agencies concerned were also in attendance. 

"The government is keeping a close watch on the impact on states on the eastern coast. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian Coast Guard have been put on high alert and are coordinating with the state government authorities. They have positioned themselves adequately," the statement said. 

Regular warnings have been issued since April 25 to fishermen not to venture into the sea and asking those at sea to return to the coast, said the statement, adding that the IMD has been issuing three-hourly bulletins with latest forecast to all the states concerned.