Bhubaneshwar, Oct 3: Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra on Sunday said that the authorities managed to minimize loss of life by evacuating the people on time, and confirmed that there were seven casualties due to the ‘very severe’ Cyclone Phailin.
“Cyclone Phailin crossed the coast last evening. One good thing is that we are not getting as much rainfall as we were expecting, it’s a good thing, so there won’t that much of flooding. We have done the largest evacuation, 8,73,000 people we have evacuated and the casualties are only seven. Because of the timely evacuation of people, whatever we tried we have achieved the goal,” he said.
He further said that the next target is to restore road communication, water supply and electricity.
“Now our next target is restoration of road communication, water supply and electricity. All roads would be restored by today evening, and except Ganjam, all other districts we are trying to restore water supply and electricity today itself. Extensive damage has been done for Beharampur. There is no need for air dripping, but helicopters have been currently on stand-by,” he added.
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 today, in the latest update on Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) Phailin, Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department, L.S. Rathore, said that the natural disaster had not caused any loss of life since the landfall on Saturday evening and complimented the media for its role during the hours of crisis.
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.
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.
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)