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Odisha Government Activates Disaster Response Teams Ahead Of Potential Cyclone

The state government has put measures in place to ensure zero casualties if a cyclone hits, including identifying safe places, putting control rooms in all districts, and having disaster response teams on standby.

File photo of BJD chief Naveen Patnaik
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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the state's preparedness to deal with a cyclone, and asked officials to be prepared for any eventuality. The meeting comes after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its forecast that a cyclonic circulation is likely to develop over southeast Bay of Bengal around May 6, and under its influence, a low-pressure area may form over the same region during the subsequent 48 hours. Recalling cyclone Fani, which hit the Odisha coast on May 2, 2019, Patnaik said determination of the path of cyclones during summer is difficult.

He advised officials to shift people who live in low-lying areas to cyclone shelters, if necessary, and formulate plans for relief and restoration works in the aftermath of a cyclone. Patnaik asked Chief Secretary PK Jena to review the situation regularly, and Special Relief Commissioner Satyabrata Sahu to work in coordination with all departments and districts. An official of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Bhubaneswar said the IMD has not yet predicted any cyclone. The likely cyclonic circulation on May 6 will lead to a low-pressure area in the next 48 hours. The low-pressure area has to further develop into a depression and then deep depression, before it can become a cyclone, he said.

Jena said the state will work to ensure 'zero casualty' if a cyclone hits the state. "All Collectors have been alerted in this regard. The cyclone shelters are in readiness while more safe places, including school buildings, have been identified," he added. Sahu said 24x7 control rooms have already been made operational in all districts. "The collectors of 18 coastal and adjoining districts have been told to remain prepared," he said. A total of 17 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and 20 teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been kept on standby, he said. Rural Development, Housing and Urban Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water departments have been asked to ensure the availability of adequate drinking water, he said.

The Energy Department told the chief minister that it was ready with men and machines for restoration works if a cyclone hits the state, Sahu said. The Forest Department has also been told to be prepared for the clearing of roads, he said. The state government's preparedness stems from a series of summer cyclones that hit the state over the years -- 2019 (Fani), 2020 (Amphan) and 2021 (Yaas).

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