As the “extremely severe” cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ is likely to hit Odisha’s shores on Friday, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has taken a series of pre-emptive measures such as deployment of ships with disaster relief material, use of Dornier aircraft to warn fishing boats and special community interaction programmes in coastal areas, according to an official statement on Wednesday.
The ICG said it has implemented the lessons learnt from Cyclone Ockhi, which hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts in 2017, to ensure the safety of lives at sea.
“Fisheries authorities, state authorities and local administration were warned April 23, 2019, onwards for precautionary measures,” the ICG said in its statement.
To ensure that widespread precautionary measures are in place in areas likely to be affected by the cyclonic storm, the ICG is in closely liasioning with state administration as well as the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The storm over the Bay of Bengal that lay centred about 660 km south-southwest of Puri is now ominously rolling towards the Odisha coast at a speed of 14 km per hour. It is expected to cross Puri May 3 afternoon, packing winds up to 175 kmph before landfall.
The ICG said on Wednesday that its “ships have been kept on standby for mobilisation of disaster relief material” in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Odisha and West Bengal.
“Four Dornier sorties are being launched every day on an average for alerting fishing boats from Chennai, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata,” it said, adding “special community interactions” were conducted at 12 places such as Tuticorin, Pamban, Villupuram, Chennai and Haldia.
The ICG has kept total 20 Disaster Response Teams on standby at six places — four each in Vizag, Chennai, Paradip and Haldia and two each in Gopalpur and Frazergunj.
“Teams (are) ready for mobilisation at short notice with lifesaving equipment,” the Coast Guard said.
The South Eastern Railway has cancelled 43 trains scheduled to run between Howrah and Puri, and other destinations in south India over the next two days.
The SER has cancelled 17 trains bound for South India and Puri.
It has also decided to cancel 26 trains originating from south India, an SER official said.
It has also taken precautionary measures to keep their passengers safe by carrying out special patrolling.
In addition, breakdown vans and relief trains have been kept ready to cater to areas likely to be affected by the cyclone in the two states, the official said. SER is also in touch with the local authorities and disaster management teams.
Separately, the East Coast Railway has issued an advisory for cancellation or regulating trains in areas which are likely to be affected by Fani.
There will be no movement of trains in the Bhadrak-Bhubaneswar-Puri-Visakhapatnam section at the time when the cyclonic storm is scheduled to pass the Odisha coast.
The West Bengal government has made elaborate precautionary arrangements to tackle the situation effectively, an official said.