VIJAYAWADA/VISAKHAPATNAM : A high alert has been sounded in three north coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam as Cyclone Jawad is hurtling towards the coast. The deep depression over the west-central Bay of Bengal has intensified into Cyclone Jawad and lay centered at 280 km south-southeast of Visakhapatnam at 8:30 pm on Friday.
According to the IMD forecast, the cyclone is likely to move northwestwards and reach the west-central Bay of Bengal off north Andhra Pradesh – south Odisha coasts by Saturday morning. Thereafter, it is likely to recurve north-northeastwards and move along Odisha coast and reach Puri around December 5 noon. Subsequently, it is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards towards the West Bengal coast.
As part of the cyclone preparedness, 13 flood relief teams (FRTs) and four diving teams are kept on standby by the Navy for rescue and relief operations. Three FRTs and two diving teams have been dispatched to Odisha from Visakhapatnam.
Four ships are on standby with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief bricks, diving and medical teams to render assistance in the most affected areas along the AP and Odisha coast. Naval aircraft are kept ready at Naval Air Stations, INS Dega at Visakhapatnam, and at INS Rajali near Chennai to undertake aerial survey of the most affected areas, casualty evacuation and airdrop of relief material as required.
Heavy rains likely under cyclone impact: IMD
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who took stock of the preparedness to face cyclone, directed officials to keep `10 crore ready for relief works in each cyclone-prone district. Officials have been directed to ensure that there are no shortcomings in rescue and relief measures. They have been asked to alert people in low-lying areas well in advance in case of flooding.
A close watch has been kept on water levels in major reservoirs. It started drizzling in parts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and East Godavari districts around 6 pm on Friday. The IMD has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places and very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall at some places in the three north coastal districts under the cyclone impact. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea for fishing in the next three days.
The Visakhapatnam district administration is on high alert to face any eventuality. Three NDRF teams comprising 45 members, have been deployed at three locations to reach vulnerable areas to undertake relief measures. District Collector A Mallikharjun declared a holiday for schools on Saturday. In all, 21 cyclone shelters have been kept ready to shift people from low-lying areas if necessary. The water level and flood situation are being closely monitored in seven reservoirs in the district.
All tourism places have been closed for visitors on Saturday, he added. People living in low-lying areas and on hill slopes have been advised to be on alert. Drains are being cleared of garbage to ensure free flow of water. A 24x7 control room has been set up at the Collectorate for relief and rescue operations.
The Srikakulam district administration has been fully geared up to face Cyclone Jawad. District Col lector Shrikesh B Lathkar, along with Special Officer Arun Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Dharmana Krishana Das, is closely monitoring the situation. A high alert has been sounded in 19 mandals in the district. As many as 61 cyclone shelters with all amenities have been readied in 11 coastal mandals to accommodate at least 15,000 people. Three NDRF teams, one each at Srikakulam, Tekkali and Palasa, have been deployed.