Bhubaneswar: With ‘extremely severe cyclone FANI’ inching closer to landfall, Odisha government has stepped up its efforts to evacuate people from low-lying and high-risk areas of several districts.
The evacuation efforts started Thursday aims at relocating up to 8,00,000 people to safe rest shades and prebuilt cyclone shelter homes. According to latest reports at 4:00pm on Thursday, as many as 3,31,000 people had already been evacuated, claimed Special Relief Commissioner’s office.
There are, however, several reports coming in – especially from Puri – that suggest resistance from people who do not wish to leaves their homes. Local administration is trying to convince them, Puri Municipal Corporation Executive Engineer Debabrata Sarangi said.
According to Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi, adequate arrangements have been made for the temporarily displaced at these shelters. The government has kept a hundred thousand dry food packets ready to be distributed in the affected areas.
Sethi further added that the government intends to complete the evacuation by the end of Thursday evening. Senior Odisha Government and rescue team officials are keeping a close tab on the developments in a control room.
Besides, the state administration has requested for two helicopters from the Center for relief and rescue. Indian Navy is also on standby.
To ensure a smooth evacuation, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Fires Services personnel have been deployed. The disaster mitigation strategy of the government plans to use 28 units of NDRF and 20 units of ODRAF.
The state government has asked telecom operators BSNL, Vodafone, Aittel and Jio to continue providing uninterrupted mobile network services even when the wind speed touches the maximum predicted 200 kilometers an hour.
It has deployed five state run OSRTC buses to evacuate Bengali pilgrims and tourists from Puri. Indian Railways is also contributing to the effort by announcing three special trains for the evacuation effort from Puri.