Over 3 lakh people were evacuated from six coastal districts of Odisha and high alert sounded in 12 other districts on Tuesday as cyclone Amphan, despite being weakened into an extremely severe cyclonic storm, packed enough force to pulverise coastal districts of the state.
Cyclone Amphan had turned into a super cyclonic storm from an extremely severe cyclonic storm on Monday, only the second such tropical storm over the Bay of Bengal in two decades, before getting somewhat enfeebled.
A major evacuation was from Kendrapara and Balasore districts of Odisha.
The Odisha government had set a target to evacuate about 11 lakh from most-affected districts. Besides, the state government is targeting the evacuation of one lakh people from vulnerable areas to shelter homes.
“Till Tuesday evening, we evacuated 30,000 persons. Cooked food has been served to those evacuated in Kendrapara,” Kendrapara Collector Samant Verma told India Today TV.
Odisha Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena on Tuesday asked all district collectors to make arrangements for the stay of migrant returnees, belonging to coastal districts that likely to be affected by cyclone Amphan.
With cyclone Amphan expected to wreak havoc in North Odisha and cause extensive damage to electricity and telecommunication network in the state and West Bengal, arrangements for the restoration of these essential services post-cyclone have been made.
Extensive damage is predicted that may devastate old pucca houses in the vulnerable areas. All shipping operations have been warned to completely stay off. Everyone from the affected areas has been warned to stay indoors.
“As telecom cables, antennas and towers get damaged during the cyclone, a disaster preparedness plan has been operationalised after discussion with all telecom operators of affected districts in both the states,” informed Telecom Secretary, Anshu Prakash.
The Secretary of Ministry Of Power said the emergency restoration system has been set up to handle power disruptions in both Odisha and West Bengal. These systems are operational in Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, and Power Grid HQ.
Cyclone Amphan is expected to wreak havoc in Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, and Mayurbhanj, said the SRC.
In view of the imminent danger of destruction in the vulnerable areas, the SRC released a press statement, listing a set of advisories for the people of Odisha. It advised people in the affected areas to remain indoors. Movement of motorboats and small ships has been discouraged. Odisha has suspended fishing operations till May 20.
Officials said the storm could destroy standing crops, damage mud and thatch houses, and disrupt power and communication lines in coastal districts of the two eastern states.
The SRC press release said total destruction of “thatched houses/ extensive damage to kutcha houses; potential threat from flying objects; bending/uprooting of power and communication poles; major damage to kutcha and pucca roads; minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems; widespread damage to standing crops, plantations, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds” are expected.