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Bracing for Phailin

With less than a few hours left for the super cyclone Phailin to hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coastal areas on Saturday evening, Odisha government has set a target of ‘zero casualty’ and ordered speedy evacuation of people in seven coastal districts. Reports from the state said that evacuation process has begun in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsingh Pur, Kendrapara, Nayagarh and Khurda districts. The state government has established control rooms to make information available to people.

Director General, India Meteorological Department, LS Rathore told reporters in New Delhi that the cyclonic storm has intensified and will move northwestwards and cross North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur by Saturday evening. The cyclone which is very severe is moving with a maximum speed of 210 to 220 kilometre per hour. During the super-cyclone of 1999, at least 9,885 persons were killed in Odisha alone.

He said it would lead to heavy to very heavy rainfall at few places and extremely heavy rainfall over coastal Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh from Friday night. Rathore said: ‘It will continue and extend to interior Odisha from Saturday night.’ Defence minister AK Antony on Friday asked the armed forces to be ready to move into Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in view of the impending severe cyclonic storm. The ministry had received a request from state governments for rescue and relief operations in the wake of the approaching cyclone.

He said two aircraft, 18 helicopters, 2 AN-32 aircraft are on a standby to move at a short notice besides asking its Eastern Air Command to coordinate relief operation with the task force positioned at Barrackpore.

Reports from Hyderabad said that Andhra Pradesh government too has made elaborate arrangements to evacuate about 64,000 people from the areas likely to be affected by the cyclonic storm. Man and machinery are ready in all coastal districts to face any eventuality apart from nine teams of National Disaster Response Force. Met office has advised fishermen to not venture into the sea. The West Bengal government has alerted the coastal districts of East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas to meet any eventuality in view of cyclonic storm. Our correspondent reports that National Disaster Response Force and Quick Force have been rushed from Kolkata to the vulnerable areas.
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