Bhubaneswar, Oct 10:
With a very severe cyclonic storm all set to hit Odisha coast by Saturday night, chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday requested Union Defence minister AK Antony to issue standing instructions to the defence forces especially the Air Force and the Navy to remain in readiness to extend support to the state government and rescue and relief operations as and when required.
Patnaik also requested the Union minister to direct the defence units located in the state to provide all possible support to the civil authorities.
“Our past experience indicates that despite preparedness by the state government, the impact of a very severe cyclonic storm requires support of the defence forces to mitigate the effects of the extreme weather conditions. The defence forces in 2007, 2008 and 2011 had extended commendable cooperation to the state government in relief and rescue operations”, the chief minister said in his letter.
He, however, said that the state is better prepared this time as compared to the devastating super cyclone in October, 1999.
The state government has asked the coastal district collectors to ensure all preparedness including evacuation of people in vulnerable areas to the cyclone shelters for safety.
The state government has also asked for deployment of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to undertake search and rescue operations along with the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), Patnaik informed the Union minister.