Odisha Readying Evacuation Of 7 Lakh People As ‘Amphan’ Approaches

The Odisha government is committed to ensuring ‘zero casualties’ as cyclonic storm Amphan continues to move towards the north Bay of Bengal. As a precaution, the state government is readying an evacuation process for around seven lakh people residing in coastal villages. These villages are expected to be worst hit by the effect of the storm which is scheduled to make landfall between May 18 and 20.

Even though predictions say that the storm would avoid Odisha, it is expected to bring heavy rains and strong wind in the northern parts of the state.

“Collectors may keep evacuation plan in readiness, in case of need to shift people from vulnerable low lying areas and living in thatched houses. This would be fine-tuned after getting further updates from the India Meteorological Department (IMD)”, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The state government is taking all the necessary steps to ensure the situation is handled efficiently. The engineering departments have been asked to make prior arrangements for quick restoration of road communication which might be disrupted during the cyclone. The Energy Department has also been instructed to make necessary arrangements for the swift restoration of power supply.

Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba has reviewed the preparedness of the state in a meeting with Odisha chief secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy. Currently, around 403 cyclone shelters have been identified which could be used, out of which, 105 are being used as temporary medical centres (TMCs) for people quarantined due to risk of COVID-19. Alternative buildings have also been identified for use as cyclone shelters, in case a need arises.

As informed by Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), PK Jena, 20 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 17 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and 335 units of fire and disaster management are in readiness. Along with this, all coastal districts have been alerted to remain vigilant in case the cyclone changes its course.