New Delhi, April 30: Authorities in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring states have been alerted to be ready to meet any eventuality due to ‘Fani’, which has intensified into a very severe storm.
It is likely to hit the Odisha coast by May 3 afternoon and affect it as well as West Bengal most, and also the Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh.
The cyclonic storm “Fani” is expected to aggravate further to “extremely severe” by Tuesday mid-night, causing light to heavy rainfall in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha till Thursday, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) cautioned on Tuesday evening.
It warned that the cyclone is likely to cause damage to houses, communication and power networks, and rail and road infrastructure.
Extensive damages to standing crops, plantations and blowing down of coconut and palm trees is also feared besides chances of ships and large boats getting torn from the mooring.
The IMD has advised fishermen not to venture into deep sea areas of Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha held a National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meeting again on Tuesday to take stock of the situation, and reviewed the preparedness in the affected states, according to an official statement.
Sinha directed that all necessary measures be taken to prevent any loss of life and to keep ready essential supplies including food, drinking water and medicines.
“He also advised all concerned to make adequate preparations to ensure maintenance of essential services such as power and telecommunications in the event of damages caused to them,” said the statement.
Indian Coast Guard and Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations, while the Army and Air Force units in the these states have also been put on standby.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed total 41 teams – eight in Andhra Pradesh, 28 in Odisha and five in West Bengal.
In addition, the NDRF has kept on standby 13 teams in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh.
“Fani”, which is lying over southwest and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal, moved northwestwards with a speed of about 21 kmph on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday evening, it is expected to recurve north-northeastwards and on Thursday afternoon to cross Odisha coast to the south of Puri with maximum sustained wind of speed 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph.
Sea conditions are “very likely” to be very rough to high along and off north Andhra Pradesh coasts during next three days, and high to phenomenal along and off Odisha and West Bengal Coasts during next four days, the IMD warned.
Storm surge of about 1.5 meter height above astronomical tide is “very likely” to inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha at the time of landfall.
Based on the decision of the first meeting of NCMC held on Monday, the Central government has released advance financial assistance of Rs 1,086 crore to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal to assist them in undertaking preventive and relief measures, as per the statement.