Patnaik reviews preparedness as Odisha braces for cyclone Yaas

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Bhubaneswar, May 22 (PTI) With Odisha bracing for cyclonic storm Yass, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday reviewed the state's preparedness and asked officials to evacuate people from low-lying areas.

Noting that saving human lives is the topmost priority of his government, Patnaik asked collectors and SPs of coastal districts to ensure that not a single person is left in the vulnerable situation before the onset of the cyclonic storm.

The state government has placed 14 districts, including Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur, on alert.

Evacuating people to safe places is most essential, Patnaik said, adding that special care should be given to children, pregnant women and elderly persons.

He directed Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra to monitor the preparedness of the district administrations daily and suggest measures to them.

He also asked the administrations of coastal districts to prepare for heavy rain and wind even though India Meteorological Department is yet to make an exact forecast about the landfall of the cyclone.

A low pressure area formed over the east central Bay of Bengal on Saturday, which is likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and move towards West Bengal, adjoining north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts around May 26 morning, the Met Department said.

The system is very likely to cross the coasts of the two states and the neighbouring country on May 26 evening, it said.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said people in all cyclone shelters will be provided with masks and arrangements for their health check-up will be made by rapid response teams.

If any person tests positive for the coronavirus infection in cyclone centres, he or she will be shifted to COVID hospitals.

Patnaik asked the administrations to depute personnel of National Disaster Response Force and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force in places where the cyclonic could wreak havoc.

'Personnel of ODRAF, NDRF and Fire Services in vulnerable areas will leave for their designated areas from Sunday morning,' he said.

The state has 17 NDRF teams, 20 ODRAF and around 150 Fire Services groups, he said.

Secretaries of water resources, housing and urban development and public works departments are in talks with district authorities for mobilisation of workers.

Jena said all the fishermen, who had gone to the deep sea for fishing, have so far returned to the coast.

'Now no more people from the community are being allowed to venture into the sea,' he said, adding that farmers have also been requested to keep the harvested crops in a safe place.

The SRC said several agencies such as UNICEF and UNDP and many civil society organisations have assured all possible help to the district administrations in the evacuation of people, shelter management and post-cyclone restoration and rehabilitation works.

He said arrangements have been made for supplying drinking water to COVID hospitals and other medical facilities in vulnerable districts.

Steps are being taken to admit pregnant women, whose expected delivery is in the next two weeks, to government hospitals, Jena said.

The telecom department is trying to ensure that possible inconvenience in the mobile network due to the impending cyclone can be addressed at the earliest.

He also said the energy department has started mobilising necessary materials and manpower to vulnerable areas. PTI AAM BDC BDC

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