Cyclone Fani: Coastal Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are on high alert.
Cyclone Fani, which is approaching the Odisha coast, has turned into an "extremely severe cyclonic" storm, the Navy said late last night. The state has been put on a "yellow alert" by the weather department. The Election Commission has lifted the model code of conduct in the coastal districts of the state to ensure that the state is prepared to face Fani. The Navy, the National Disaster Response Force and the Coast Guard are on high alert. The Met department has issued a "yellow warning" for the Odisha coast predicting heavy to very heavy rain in several areas. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh too are on high alert. Odisha's 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters have been kept ready. The shelters can accommodate about one million people during cyclones and floods.
Here are the Highlights on Cyclone Fani:
8 lakh to be evacuated in Odisha
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik says about eight lakh people would be evacuated in view of "extremely severe" cyclonic storm Fani, which is likely to hit the coast in Puri on May 3 afternoon.
Chairing a high-level review meeting, he directed to ensure 100 per cent evacuation in the vulnerable areas as every life is precious, and set the goal to achieve zero-casualty.
He said about eight lakh people would be evacuated to safer places by Thursday evening.
"I appeal to everyone that the children, women, old and disabled be evacuated first. All precautions have been taken to face the cyclone. We are fully prepared to tackle the cyclone Fani," says Mr Patnaik.
Due to Cyclone Fani, 22 more trains have been cancelled by East Coast Railway. A total of 103 trains have been cancelled so far, reports news agency ANI.
Defence Ministry says it is monitoring the developing situation in East Coast of India for Cyclone Fani and has authorised proactive deployment of resources from the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard for succour and assistance to those in need with minimum reaction time. The Coast Guard has deployed 20 teams.
Red Alert in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh
A red alert has been sounded in Srikakulam district of north coastal Andhra Pradesh as heavy rains with winds gusting up to 120 kmph are likely under the influence of the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, reports news agency PTI.
Heavy rainfall has also been predicted in adjoining Vizianagaram district and scattered rainfall in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts along the Bay of Bengal on May 2 and 3.
Paradip port operations will be suspended from tonight, all vessels have been told to leave the port, SK Mishra, traffic manager at the port, tells news agency Reuters.
Trains cancelled in Odisha
At least 47 trains have been cancelled by the East Coast Railway (ECoR) in Odisha, says an official. In all, 74 trains have been cancelled in the first phase keeping in mind the safety and security of passengers, the ECoR official adds.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tells news agency ANI: "We came to meet the Cabinet Secretary and had a discussion on Cyclone Fani. Central govt has announced Rs 340 crore as emergency relief fund."
Fani Cyclone is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross Odisha Coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, around Puri during May 3 afternoon with maximum sustained wind speed of 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph, India Meteorological Department tells news agency ANI.
East Coast Railways has issued an advisory to cancel or regulate trains which might get affected due to Fani Cyclone, reports news agency ANI. The section between Bhadrak-Bhubaneswar-Puri-Visakhapatnam will be cleared so that there will be no trains in the section during extreme situation.
Relief Material on Stand-By in Vizag
Eastern Naval Command says ships at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, are on stand-by with relief material for immediate deployment to most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief operations due to cyclone Fani. Diving and medical teams are kept ready augmenting rescue and relief efforts in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, it adds.
Naval aircraft are also kept ready at Naval Air Stations, INS Dega and INS Rajali to undertake aerial survey of the most affected areas, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material, as required by the State Administration, reports news agency ANI.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweets: Reiterated the demands of the Odisha State Govt and @SRC_Odisha and requested for all possible co-operation to fully equip on field teams to handle any contingencies. Was assured of all possible help in relief & restoration due to the cyclone."
"We are making best efforts to inform them about the cyclone and move these vulnerable people to cyclone shelters," Bishnupada Sethi, the state's special relief commissioner, tells news agency Reuters.
Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba told news agency ANI, "We are prepared for the cyclone. Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam is ready, all necessary measures have been taken. In coordination with the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, we are ready for the cyclone."
Leave of doctors and health staff in Odisha have been cancelled upto May 1. Those who are on leave have been asked to report back to their headquarters by this evening, reports news agency ANI.
The name ''Fani", which is pronounced as "Foni", was suggested by Bangladesh. Roughly translated, "Fani" means the hood of a snake, according to reports.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Tuesday sent a letter to the Election Commission requesting withdrawal of the model code from all coastal districts to make it easier for the government to handle the impending cyclonic storm "Fani" in the state.
National Disaster Management Authority tweets, "Sea condition is phenomenal over west-central Bay of Bengal neighbourhood and phenomenal sea conditions over SW Bay & adjoining west central BOB and along & off north Tamilnadu Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas."
The Odisha government on Wednesday ordered closure of all educational institutions in the state from tomorrow because of the cyclonic storm 'Fani', which is likely to hit the coast on May 3 afternoon.
Cyclone Fani: Temple Town Of Puri On Alert
Authorities in Odisha also advised tourists to leave Puri by tomorrow evening and cancel non-essential travel to the districts likely to be affected on May 3 and May 4.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is deploying 41 teams in areas considered to be vulnerable - Andhra Pradesh (8), Odisha (28) and West Bengal (5). The NDRF has also kept on standby 13 teams in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh.
Cyclone Fani is expected to cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, to the south of Puri around afternoon on May 3.
Because of Cyclone Fani, the Election Commission has approved the proposal of lifting of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct in the Odisha districts of Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, Ganjam, Khordha, Cuttack and Jajpur to facilitate speedy rescue, relief, and restoration activities.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) also met for the second time on Tuesday in as many days and reviewed how the states are preparing to deal with the situation.
Heavy Rain Likely In Parts Of Odisha Due To Cyclone Fani
In Odisha, the Met department has predicted heavy to very heavy rain in places like Boudh, Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Deogarh, and Sundargarh."Heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places the districts of Boudh, Kalahandi Sambalpur Deogarh and Sundargarh of Odisha," said the IMD.