Odisha Put On Cyclone Alert

Bhubaneswar: While the exact landfall target and other details of the impending cyclone in the Bay of Bengal is yet to be ascertained, as a precautionary measure, districts in the north-coastal Odisha have been put on alert.

Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Jena while refraining from making any cyclone-related predictions clarified that Odisha is on high alert. He said that Collectors of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Balasore and Bhadrak have been alerted to ready alternate centres, since cyclone shelters have been converted into quarantine centres amid COVID-19 crisis.

All coastal district collectors especially north Odisha collectors have been asked to closely monitor the situation.

Jena said that as per IMD’s predictions the low pressure over southeast Bay of Bengal is expected to concentrate into a depression and further intensify into a cyclonic storm over the south and adjoining central parts of Bay of Bengal by May 16 evening.

“It is uncertain whether the storm will hit north Odisha or move towards West Bengal or Bangladesh. There is no clear picture yet. But the government is prepared to meet the possible cyclone. As a precautionary measure, we have put collectors of 12 districts on high alert, “said the SRC.

Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and fire service personnel have been asked to remain prepared. However, their prepositioning will be decided after getting an indication from the IMD about the path of the cyclone, said Jena.

As many of the multi-purpose cyclone shelters are used as quarantine centres for COVID-19, Collectors of coastal districts have been asked to identify alternative buildings which will be used as cyclone shelters.

The inmates of quarantine centres located within a three-kilometre radius from the coast will be shifted to other safe locations. In case that is not possible the inmates will be asked to undergo home quarantine after a fresh round of tests.

Since the offices are running with minimum staff due to COVID-19, the SRC informed that 100 per cent staff in the affected districts has been asked to join till the cyclone situation is over.

Pradeep Kumar Jena, SRC, Odisha