New Delhi, Oct 3: Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth on Sunday lauded the efforts of the Government agencies in tackling damages caused by the very severe Cyclone Phailin, and confirmed that fourteen causalities have been reported so far.
“The worst of the impact of the cyclone is now over. Fourteen causalities have been reported officially as of now. All the agencies of the Government of India worked together fight against the challenge of this cyclonic storm. Most of the causalities were due to the fall of the trees and walls, as there were many areas that were affected. The agricultural field and the transmitting stations have got affected,” he said.
“We hope that maximum damage will be restored in two to three days. There are chances of the first train to run to Visakhapatnam by today’s night. Coast Guard has helped in restoring all the boats and protecting fishermen from the potential dangers,” he added.
He further said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had monitored the situation, and added that both the states would be provided aid as much as possible.
“Prime Minister has been very concerned about people. He has given directions that we should spare no efforts in assisting the state government,” he said.
Seth also said that the first task now is to rescue the people and ensure that communication links are restored.
“In Andhra Pradesh, road connectivity is not much of a problem. The distribution lines are adversely affected. The NTPC and NHPC have made available all the resources to assist the state government. There is hope that power will be restored in all the areas by today evening or tomorrow morning. The phone connections are reasonably good,” he said.
He also appreciated the efforts of the State governments, the Army, Air force and the Coast Guard, and said that they have done a good job in ensuring that all precautions were taken.
Earlier today, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Surjeet Singh Guleria said that the damage assessment is being carried out since morning.
“We have taken many steps. Twenty-nine teams were deployed since yesterday. Since 5 in the morning, they are carrying out the damage assessment, they are clearing the roads; while clearing the roads, and we are seeing that there are a few buildings, which have collapsed. So we are clearing the buildings also so that there is no person found trapped. So that kind of care we are taking,” he said.
Earlier in the day, 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.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on 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.
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.
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)