Bhubaneswar: Cyclone Fani is gaining intensity and is inching closer to the Indian mainland and will make landfall on the Odisha cost tomorrow, between 10 am and 12 noon. The state government is planning to evacuate close to 8 lakh people to safety shelters fearing the onslaught of the cyclone.
The storm is moving at 12 km per hour with wind speeds touching 170 to 180 km per hour.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is expecting widespread damage in areas of Ganjam, Puri, Khudra, Gajapati, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Balasore and other interior and Southern areas of Odisha.
The government has already begun evacuation of the population and around 3000 transit shelters and another 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters have started for the people. Heavy rainfall has begun to lash at many places in Odisha which is the impact of the storm. The authorities also fear flash floods and flooding of towns and villages tomorrow when the cyclone finally strikes the state.
Rescue forces NDRF and ODRAF are pressed into service with many teams camping in coastal regions. 568 fire service units are on duty. The state government has also asked for 2 choppers for rescue missions, airlifting and air dropping. Many PVC tanks and overhead tanks are placed by the government to ensure that the people do not run out of safe drinking water.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed a high level meeting to take stock of the situation. He was informed about the level of preparedness of the armed forces and NDRF, the availability of drinking water and other standby measures.
The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Additional Principal Secretary, Home Secretary, and other senior officials from IMD, NDRF, NDMA, and the PMO.