Armed forces, ICG take steps to mitigate impact of cyclone Yaas

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New Delhi, May 23 (PTI) The tri-services and the Indian Coast Guard have taken several steps to mitigate the impact of cyclone Yaas that is expected to hit the eastern coast of India on Monday, the defence ministry said.

The cyclone in the Bay of Bengal is expected to hit the coastal regions of West Bengal and Odisha on Monday morning, a week after cyclone Tauktae in the Arabian Sea devastated the coastal areas of Gujarat.

'The Indian Navy, fresh from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and rescue operations on the western coast, has moved 10 HADR pallets to Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, while five HADR pallets are ready at Port Blair,' the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

It said four diving and 10 flood relief columns of the Indian Navy have been pre-positioned at Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Chilika for rendering assistance to the civil administration at short notice.

Moreover, seven flood relief teams and two diving teams are ready at different locations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to deal with any eventuality, the defence ministry said.

Naval aircraft and helicopters in Vishakhapatnam and Port Blair are ready to undertake search and rescue missions, the statement said.

'Eight flood relief columns and three engineer task forces of the Indian Army are ready for immediate deployment on requisition by the civil administration,' it stated.

Till now, the Indian Air Force has airlifted 950 National Disaster Response Force personnel and 70 tonnes of load from Jamnagar, Varanasi, Patna and Arakonnam to Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Port Blair, the ministry said.

Sixteen transport aircraft and 26 helicopters of the IAF are on standby for immediate deployment, it said.

The armed forces are in constant touch with the civil administration of the affected states, the ministry said.

The armed forces' teams are also aware of the need to keep road and rail links open to ensure uninterrupted supply of life saving oxygen and drugs required for treatment at COVID-19 hospitals, it noted.

As part of these preventive measures, the Indian Coast Guard has ensured safe return of 254 boats which were out in the Bay of Bengal and alerted various merchant vessels in transit and 77 vessels at anchorage, the ministry said.

Thirty-one disaster relief teams with inflatable boats, life buoys and lifejackets are on standby all along the eastern coast and Andaman and Nicobar islands, it said.

'The Indian Coast Guard efforts towards preventive measures translated into a massive deployment of 16 ships and three aircraft per day on an average across the deep waters of Bay of Bengal,' the ministry said.

The state governments on the eastern coast as well as the Centre are preparing for Yaas that will bring winds with a speed ranging 155-165 kmph and gusting to 185 kmph.

Tauktae had made a landfall on May 17 night near Una town in Gir Somnath, Gujarat, and wreaked havoc for around 28 hours before it weakened into a depression. At least 79 people have lost their lives in incidents related to the cyclone in different parts of Gujarat. PTI DSP ANB ANB

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