In the latest update on Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) Phailin, Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department, L.S. Rathore, on Sunday said that the natural disaster had not caused any loss of life since the landfall on Saturday evening.
Rathore also briefed the media on the forecast over the next 48 hours for the affected regions, and confirmed that the worst in terms of wind is over.
Complimenting the media for their efforts, Rathore said: "There seems to be a zero loss of life as was targeted to combat this Very Severe Cyclonic Storm. I would like to place on record great sense of participation and objective reporting by both electronic and print media of this country. It has really helped greatly for wider and accurate information dissemination to all stakeholders, including public at large."
Updating the track of Cyclone Phailin, Rathore said that presently it is a Serious Cyclonic Storm, which is expected to calm down into a cyclone by the evening.
"The system is moving in a northwestward direction till noon. By evening it will become cyclonic storm. By late evening it will become deep depression, and will remain as depression through the night and tomorrow," Rathore said.
Rathore said that presently, the system is 50 kilometers south of Sambalpur, and confirmed its coordinates to be 21 degree north and 84 degree east. "Its strength is-it is a Serious Cyclonic Storm yet at 3 UTC. The winds associated with this is presently at 100 to 110 kilometers per hour. The rainfall reported at 3 UTC, as of today, is widespread over Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh. It is of the range of 10 c.m. to 20 c.m. Isolated extremely heavy rainfall has also been reported in hill stations like Udayagiri," he said.
"In terms of winds, next 12 hours are crucial. The worst in terms of winds is over," he added.
Rathore assured that there was "nothing to worry" in Andhra Pradesh, eventhough rain and wind is likely to continue over the next 24 hours in the state.
In Odisha rain is expected to continue-ranging from heavy to very heavy-for another 24 hours.
In Jharkhand, rain is expected to continue for another 36 hours.
In Chhattisgarh and Gangetic West Bengal, rain is likely to continue for another 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the MeT has issued a warning to Bihar as it is likely that the rivers running into Bihar will overflow and cause disruption in the state.
The landfall took place at around 9.15 p.m. on Saturday night and the impact of the cyclone lasted for over seven hours before it moved in a north-northwesterly direction.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been briefed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth about the impact of Cyclone Phailin and his office is continuously monitoring the situation arising out of it.
Dr. Singh has directed that all possible assistance should be extended to the two state governments concerned in ensuring the safety and security of the people and in relief and rescue operations.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Saturday that at least eight districts of Odisha had faced the brunt of the cyclone, while three districts of Andhra Pradesh namely Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam were affected.
About 26 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in Odisha, along with three on standby. In Andhra Pradesh, there are 15 teams of the NDRF, with additional two on standby.
The Army has deployed an engineering task force, six composite relief units, four columns in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The Air Force, on its part, has put in place frontline C-17 Globemasters, C-130 J Super Hercules and IL-76 transport planes to Odisha to carry out relief operations. The Indian Air Force can move into the affected areas by Sunday afternoon to speed up the relief operations. Strong winds blowing currently do not permit air operations.
The Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy has assumed the highest degree of readiness to render all necessary humanitarian assistance.
Two Indian Naval ships, including the Landing Platform Dock INS Jalashwa are standing by to proceed with dispatch to the most affected areas of Odisha in the cyclone's aftermath.
INS Jalashwa, the second largest combatant of the Indian Navy, is ideally equipped to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support and hospital ship operations.
Both the ships are poised with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets etc, in quantities sufficient to sustain over 5000 personnel for three days.
Six advance diving teams with inflatable boats, rescue material and satellite communication have left for Odisha by road and will operate from INS Chilka, 50 km north of Gopalapatnam, where the cyclone is expected to make landfall.
These personnel will be assisted by four platoons from the local naval station and doctors from INHS Nivarini in their rescue and relief efforts.
The Eastern Naval Command is monitoring the developments closely and is in constant communication with the state administration to augment rescue and relief operations.
Six helicopters are standing by at the Naval Air Station INS Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded.
Additionally, the telecom department has also prepared itself to ensure that communication links are stable during the expected disaster. (ANI)