Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 11:
As part of its efforts to ensure ‘zero casualty’ in Cyclone ‘Hudhud’, the Odisha government today began evacuating people from vulnerable areas in southern part of the state to safer places and multi-purpose cyclone centres in the area with the help of district administration, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF).
Fire brigade personnel have also been pressed into service to evacuate people in southern districts of the state.
“After a direction from the government, the collectors of eight districts are shifting people from vulnerable areas to safe places and cyclone shelters. We are in the process of evacuating about 3.5 lakh people,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra.
Based on the IMD prediction, the government had asked the district collectors of Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Kandhamal to evacuate the vulnerable people, especially those who live in thatched houses.
The administration in the these eight districts has made arrangements for free kitchen facilities in the cyclone shelters for the evacuated people. The district authorities have also been asked to stock adequate quantities of dry food, said Mohapatra.
The government has deployed 15 NDRF units and 10 units of ODRF, each comprising 40 personnel, besides fire service personnel to evacuate people from vulnerable places.
Chief secretary GC Pati said the government has engaged public address system and local community leaders to ensure that all the people living in kutcha houses are taken to safer places in the tribal districts.
Bikash Mohapatra, RDC (southern division), said people are being evacuated in some districts after assessing the situation. “Among those being evacuated are tribal people from the Bonda hills in Malkangiri district,” he said.
Ganjam district collector Prem Chandra Choudhury said the people are yet to be evacuated in the district. “We are assessing the situation. We have set a target to evacuate about 1.5 lakh people, if required,” said the collector.
Meanwhile, many parts of the state have already started receiving rainfall though it has been mostly sporadic and intermittent. The state expects heavy to very heavy rainfall in the coming hours under the impact of cyclonic storm Hudhud.