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State On Zero Casualty Approach

Bhubaneswar: As the cyclonic storm Gulab is all set to create devastation in southern parts of Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stressed for zero casualty approach and asked 11 district collectors to evacuate people from low-lying areas and vulnerable areas.

Chief Minister Patnaik reviewed the preparedness made for the cyclone Gulab through video conferencing with 11 district collectors from New Delhi.

He also directed the collectors of Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal, Malkangiri, Khordha, Puri, Nayagah and Kalahandi districts to keep schools and other educational institutions closed tomorrow in view of the cyclone.

The Chief Minister has also directed collectors to take appropriate decisions regarding closure of schools and educational institutions on Tuesday depending on the situation in their respective districts.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena said the evacuation process is almost completed. He said 42 ODRAF teams, 24 NDRF teams and 103 Fire Service teams will be deployed in the districts likely to be most affected by the cyclonic storm.

“As we are still battling with COVID-19, the chief minister has directed us to ensure social distance and masks at safe-shelters to check transmission of COVID,” said the SRC.

The cyclone is lay centered about 140 km from Gopalpur of Odisha coast and is likely to make landfall between Gopalpur of Odisha and Kalingapatnam of Andhra Pradesh this evening, said India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“The landfall process will start from evening around 6 pm and complete by midnight (12 am). The windfall speed will gradually increase in the landfall area. During the landfall, the wind speed will be 75-85 kmph gusting to 95 kmph,” said Director General of IMD, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.

The cyclone will have a major impact on Ganjam and Gajapati districts of Odisha and Srikakulam and Vizianagaram area of Andhra Pradesh, he said.

Besides, districts like Rayagada, Malkangiri, Koraput and Nabarangpur would also witness heavy windfall of 55 -65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph, the DG said. Many places of south Odisha would experience heavy to very heavy rainfall, he added.

As per the IMD prediction, tidal waves of about 0.5 metre height above the astronomical tide are likely to inundate low lying areas of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Ganjam districts during the time of landfall.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Naval Command and Naval Officers-in-Charge Odisha area have carried out preparatory activities to combat the possible effects.

“The Indian Navy is closely monitoring the movement of the Cyclonic Storm and is in constant liaison with the state administrations for rendering assistance as required,” a release from the Ministry of Defence said.

As part of the preparedness, Flood Relief Teams and Diving Teams have already been positioned at Odisha and are ready at Visakhapatnam to render immediate assistance. Two Naval ships are at sea with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) material and medical teams to render assistance in the most affected areas.

Naval aircraft are kept ready at Naval Air Stations, INS Dega at Visakhapatnam and INS Rajali near Chennai to undertake an aerial survey of the most affected areas, casualty evacuation, and airdrop of relief material as required, the release added.