With the low pressure on East central Bay of Bengal likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm “Yass” with the landfall being expected on May 26 evening between Paradip in Odisha and Sagar island in West Bengal, the Odisha government geared up to the challenge of ensuring the safety of lives and property amid the raging pandemic.
It is a double whammy – securing safety of people with Covid protocol and safety of home isolation patients as well as Covid Care Centres in north Odisha districts.
Red and Yellow warnings have been issued based on heavy to very heavy rainfall. The districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar have been kept on the alert with instructions to ensure smooth evacuation of people residing in low-lying areas to safer places.
As the pandemic has spread its tentacles across the state, the evacuation of the people to safety amid maintenance of COVID protocol will be a real challenge for the district level authorities. But the government is in a state of readiness to tackle the situation effectively with due regard to COVID protocol, said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena
The evacuees in all cyclone shelters will be provided with masks and arrangements for their health check-up will be made by rapid response teams. If any person tests positive for the coronavirus infection in cyclone centres, he or she will be shifted to COVID hospitals, he said.
Steps are being taken to admit pregnant women, whose expected delivery is in the next two weeks, to government hospitals.
While preparatory measures are in full swing, teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and Fire Services have been sent to the districts likely to be affected by the cyclone.
The Coast Guard, Navy with aircraft are in readiness.
Radar Stations of the Coast Guard in West Bengal and Odisha have also started transmitting weather warnings over VHF at regular intervals both in English and in vernacular language to alert Merchant Vessels and fishing boats operating at sea, said a Coast Guard release.
As cyclone Yaas is all set to make landfall on the east coast, the Eastern Railway has suspended the services of as many as 25 running through the Odisha route.
“25 Eastern coastal area bound trains will remain cancelled in view of Cyclone Yaas as a precautionary measure”, stated a release by East Coast Railway.
The state would experience light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy rainfall in the north coastal districts from May 25, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Heavy to very heavy rains are likely to occur at a few places in the state with extremely heavy rainfall in districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Mayurbhanj on May 26, it said.
The wind speed will gradually increase thereafter, reaching 90 to 100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph in the afternoon of May 26. It will increase to 155 to 165 kmph when it crosses the coast on May 26 evening, it added.
Meanwhile, State Energy Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra, who chaired a high level review meeting, said arrangements are in full swing to ensure seamless uninterrupted supply of electricity to Covid care centres, Covid hospitals during and after the cyclonic activity.
The SRC Mr Jena, Fire Services DG Mr M Akhay conducted field visits to different coastal districts.