Cyclone Yaas threat: Odisha alerts 14 districts, urges Navy, Coast Guard to remain vigilant

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Bhubaneswar, May 21 (PTI) Apart from putting at least 14 of the state's 30 districts on high alert in the wake of the IMD's forecast of a possible cyclone crossing Odisha-West Bengal coast by May 26 morning, the state government Friday urged the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard to be prepared for the emerging situation, official sources said.

Odishas Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra, after a meeting with senior officials, said that the state administration is geared up to meet the eventuality if cyclone 'Yaas' has any impact on the state.

Though IMD is yet to inform about the possible path of the system, its speed and landfall location, the state has been preparing to meet the challenge beforehand, he said.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena, who held a series of meetings on the matter, spoke to collectors of 14 districts, different line departments, power distribution companies, telecom providers, authorities of NDRF, ODRAF, Odisha police, state Fire Service and apprised them about their role during the crisis.

'The DIG of Indian Coast Guard has informed us that two of their flights and two ships are making rounds of the Bay of Bengal. They will rescue the fishermen if trapped anywhere in the sea,' Jena said.

So far 39 fishermen are in the deep sea and they are expected to return to the shore by Saturday morning, he added.

He said the authorities of Indian Naval Ship Chilika and Indian Navy have been alerted and are in toch with the state government to meet the challenges posed by the possible calamirty.

Stating that the 5 teams of NDRF have so far returned to Odidsha from Gujarat, Jena said as many as 17 NDRF teams, 20 battalions of ODRAF andd 100 teams of Fire Service are in readiness for the relief and rescue operation.

Besides, the forest department has been put on alert to ensure clearing of roads likely to be blocked by the trees falling due to the possible cyclone.

The power distribution companies and telecom providers are told to remain prepared to start restoration work as soon as the calamity is over.

Adequate number of generators have been kept in ready condition to ensure uninterrupted drinking water supply.

Jena said that the district collectors have already identified suitable pucca buildings to keep people in safe shelter.

'This time we need more such shelters keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic. All attempts to be made to maintain social distancing and other adhere to coronavirus protocol during the rescue, relief and restoration activities,' he said.

Stating that Odisha is well prepared in view of the possible cyclonic storm 'Yaas' in the Bay of Bengal, Jena said the departments of panchayati raj, urban development, health, home, water resources, fisheries and animal development resources and others are ready to carry forward their respective responsibilities.

IMD in its belletion has informed that a low-pressure system is likely to form over Bay of Bengal on May 22. This may intensify into depression on May 23 and into cyclone on May 24.

The cyclone is likely to make landfall between Odisha and West Bengal.

The system is very likely to move north-westwards and reach Odisha-West Bengal coast around May 26 morning, the IMD said while advising fishermen not to venture into deep sea area of central Bay of Bengal between May 23 and May 25 and into north Bay of Bengal along and off Odisha coast from May 24 to May 27. PTI AAM SNS SNS

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