KENDRAPARA: Possibility of yet another cyclone in the Bay of Bengal has fishermen of Kendrapara and its nearby areas worried. With formation of a cyclone likely to affect the coast of Odisha in the next few days, the fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea. Several of them returned to the shore on Friday evening.
“We depend on the sea for our livelihood. The system has forced us to stay away from the sea,” said Ajaya Das of Batighar village. Joint director (marine) of Fisheries department, Basant Dash said several boats, that had ventured into the sea a few days back, have returned and are anchored at harbours and jetties. He said the fishermen are being warned against venturing into the sea through loudspeakers and action will be taken against those who ignore the directive.
District emergency officer, Sambeet Satapathy said basing on the prediction of India Meteorological Department (IMD), the State government has alerted 12 districts. “We are working with local sarpanchs and other panchayat body members to help people prepare for the cyclone in the seaside villages of the State,” he said.
Since the storm may impact the coast in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, those testing positive for Covid-19 will be shifted to special cyclone shelters that will function as temporary medical camps. Besides, schools and colleges in the seaside villages will be converted into cyclone shelters to ensure social distancing among people accommodated at the temporary facilities. People being evacuated will be tested for the virus through rapid antigen test, said Satapathy.
However, officials asked residents of coastal villagers not to panic. “Four years back, the government built 12 Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) towers at seaside villages of Kendrapara to provide cyclone and tsunami warning to locals. Sirens have been installed in all towns in coastal area. The sound emanating from the towers can be heard in localities up to a radius of 1.5 km. EWD towers will also enable authorities to alert people in smaller pockets depending on the severity of the disaster, added Satapathy.