Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday assured that the government is fully prepared to counter the cyclonic storm 'Phailin', and requested the people to stay calm.
"The state government has taken all necessary steps to face the situation with promptness. Rescue and relief operation teams are ready for action. I, therefore, request you not to panic over the situation and face it with unity. I am sure we will be able to handle this challenge with coordinated efforts," he told media here today.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Surjeet Singh Guleria, said teams would be deployed in vulnerable areas.
"Till now 20 teams have been deployed. Eight teams are reaching at the airport within few hours. They will be deployed in severe vulnerable places by evening," he added.
Revenue Minister of Andhra Pradesh Raghuveera Reddy said: "850 shelters (camps) are kept ready for the evacuation of the people. About 64,000 people will be evacuated mostly be this evening, staying in lower lying areas. All fishermen are requested to come back, many of them have come back."
Key senior officials of the Government of India have reportedly attended a meeting in the Home Ministry to review the state of preparedness for countering the after effects of Cyclone Phailin, which is expected to hit the coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh late on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, at least 65,000 people in at least five districts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are to be evacuated by rescue and relief teams. Several thousands have already been moved to shelters in anticipation of the cyclonel.
Satellite images show Cyclone Phailin to be about 500 kilometers off the coast in the Bay of Bengal and is likely to make a landfall on Saturday evening, with widespread flooding expected from surges.
The Indian Meteorological Department said Phailin would hit between Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and the major port of Paradip in Odisha state and predicted flooding from expected storm surges of about three meters (10 feet) above normal tides.
Authorities in the two states have warned of extensive damage to crops, village dwellings and old buildings, as well as disruption of power, water and rail services. Shelters were being stocked with rations, and leave for government employees for Dussehra have been cancelled.