BHUBANESWAR: With the Hudhud cyclone within 200 km distance of the eastern coast, the Odisha Government on Saturday began moving people to safer areas in the tribal inhabited southern districts. Ready with evacuation plans for close to three lakh people in eight districts on the eastern side, which are likely to be impacted by the Category 3 storm, the government braced for the cyclone which has gathered strength and is headed towards Visakhapatnam coast.
The government also issued an advisory to the people of five districts of undivided Koraput in southern side to stay at home, and not to venture out alone on the roads.
“Electricity supply lines in these districts are old and the wind could snap the cables which is why people should be cautious. The government is working with the BSNL to send warning SMSes to people,” special relief commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said.
The government has also cautioned people not to hit the roads to Andhra Pradesh when the cyclone strikes the coast near Visakhapatnam.
The Odisha State Road Transport Corporation buses and private operators will stay off the roads during the next 48 hours.
At least 38 trains have been cancelled to and from the state and Bhubaneswar Railway Station wore a deserted look as train movement remained suspended.
Air traffic from Visakhapatnam has also been suspended. The Indigo flights to Chennai and Mumbai will not make a stop-over at Visakhapatnam during the next 24 hours, Biju Patnaik International Airport director Sharad Kumar said.
By Saturday evening, over 8,500 people, including 1,300 members of the primitive Bonda and Didai tribes, were shifted to shelters in five districts along the eastern coast.
With cyclonic wind expected to reach 100-120 kmph in the southern districts, the government deployed 16 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 10 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) in the districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal and Kalahandi.
At least five Indian Air Force choppers have also been kept on stand-by at Kaleikonda to assist in the rescue and relief operations. The Indian Army is also kept in readiness with 12 teams for assisting the operations.
Chief secretary G C Pati said the evacuation would continue on Sunday keeping in view of storm’s track and impact zone.
“By Sunday evening, Hudhud will close in to Odisha. We have sufficient time to shift the people to safer places and have given full freedom to District Collectors in the decision-making process,” he said.
In the villages bordering Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, both the governments have coordinated for the evacuation of the villagers.
Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said Gajapati and Srikakulam Collectors are jointly working for shifting the inhabitants of Kutia village which is claimed by both the states.
According to India Meteorological Department, Hudhud is expected to induce peak wind speed of 195 kmph during land fall near Visakhapatnam around Sunday noon. It is likely to get stronger and pack in much more force then.
Army Prepares for hudhud
New Delhi: In view of the impending cyclone Hudhud, which is heading towards Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast, the Army has mobilised its resources to meet any contingency. According to the Army, it has deployed eight rescue teams and four engineer task forces at Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, and eight such teams, including road opening parties, at Gopalpur in Odisha. The Army also maintained that additional resources have also been kept on standby and would be mobilised according to the developing situation, which is being monitored closely. Besides the Army, the Navy and Coast Guard have also deployed their huge resources to meet any contingency situation.