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Rain, wind velocity picks up in Odisha ahead of Cyclone Yass’s strike: State faces evacuation challenge

The Odisha government plans to relocate around 4 lakh people in vulnerable areas to cyclone shelters and government buildings.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

As incessant rain has begun lashing most parts of coastal and northern Odisha with wind speed picking up, the very severe cyclonic storm Yaas stares at the coastal State with its likely landfall near Chandbali-Dhamra coast.

The cyclonic storm over east-central Bay of Bengal intensified into a severe cyclonic storm late last night and it will intensify further and transform into a very severe category storm, said Bhubaneswar regional centre of India Meteorological Department (IMD) here on Tuesday.

The cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’ is striding in north-northwestward direction at a wind speed of nine kilometre per hour during the past six hours. It remained about 360 km south-southeast of Paradip and 460 km south-southeast of Balasore, IMD regional centre said.

The impact of the cyclonic fury will be most intense 6 hours before & after the landfall. The coastal parts of Chandbali and Dhamra in Bhadrak district will initially experience the impounding of the very severe cyclonic storm. The cyclone’s landfall is likely to occur during noon hours of 26 May.

In view of the expected landfall of cyclone Yass at Balasore and Bhadrak district, Odisha chief minister Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday directed minister of state for home Dibyashankar Mishra to reach Balasore and camp there to monitor the situation.

The coastal districts- Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore and Bhadrak- are likely to bear the maximum brunt of the cyclone. The administrations of these districts are on high alert to face exigencies.

Meanwhile the districts of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar in northern parts are also put on alert with disaster preparedness plans, besides the most vulnerable districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and Fire Services are already stationed in these districts likely to be affected by the cyclone. The dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and Covid care centres are now equipped with standby power, oxygen, drinking water and food materials.

The Coast Guard, lending its assistance to the government to tackle nature’s fury, has undertaken preventive measures diverting the fishing boats to return to harbour for safety. 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.

Meanwhile, the evacuation of people that had begun yesterday picked up pace today with people beginning to shift to safety. The Odisha government plans to relocate around 4 lakh people in vulnerable areas to cyclone shelters and government buildings.

“We have faced cyclones with resilience in the past. Danger is lurking at us. So we will take no chances as wind speed is gradually picking up. By evening, we will shift to cyclone shelters and available government buildings. We have resolved to abide by COVID0-19 protocol as virus infection threat remains uppermost in our minds”, said Raghav Mandal, a native of seaside Talchua village in Kendrapara district.