New Delhi: Cyclone Fani has intensified into an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ and will cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali by Friday afternoon. (Also read: Naveen Patnaik Urges EC to Postpone Patkura Assembly Election in View of Cyclone Fani)

The IMD has issued its ‘yellow’ warning to Odisha and suggested a total suspension of fishing activities operations, extensive evacuation from coastal areas, diversion or suspension of rail and road traffic.

Meanwhile, the Centre has ordered the release of Rs 1,086 crore to four states as advance assistance to take preventive and relief measures to deal with cyclone Fani.

The Ministry of Home Affairs order follows a decision of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) which is the country’s top body to deal with emergency situations. The amount would be disbursed to the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) of Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

Of the sanctioned amount, Odisha will receive Rs 340.87 crore, Tamil Nadu Rs 309.37 crore, West Bengal Rs 235.50 crore and Andhra Pradesh will get Rs 200.25 crore.

The NCMC met states and government departments on Tuesday to review the preparedness. 18 NDRF teams have been deployed for West Bengal to assist during cyclone Fani. Fani intensify into an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ by Tuesday night and can hit the Odisha coast by Friday afternoon, the India Meteorological Department said.

The IMD has issued a formal cyclone alert for Odisha, West Bengal and parts of Andhra Pradesh, and suggested evacuation of coastal areas. The Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD said cyclone Fani lays southwest and adjoining westcentral and southeast Bay of
Bengal about 760 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 560 km southsoutheast of Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and about 660 km north-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).

“It has intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm,” Additional Director General of the IMD Mritunjay Mohapatra told PTI.
Odisha: Rescue teams of Odisha Fire and Disaster Response Academy on standby ahead of cyclone #Fani that is supposed to make a landfall on May 3; #Visuals from Bhubaneswar & Cuttack. (30.04.2019) pic.twitter.com/3gmvM4XeII

In view of the situation, the Indian Navy has stationed two ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai with expert divers and doctors. Navy aircraft are also in a state of readiness at two locations for emergency services. The Indian Air Force has also been alerted and their services will be utilised if necessary, said an official, adding that the Odisha government has taken up the matter with the NDRF.

He said 20 units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and 335 units of fire services have also been kept in a state of preparedness.

Odisha Chief Secretary, after a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, told media that the primary task would be to ensure evacuation of people from low-lying areas of the coastal districts, which will be launched on May 2.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country’s top body to deal with emergency situations, met in Delhi on
Tuesday for a second time in as many days and reviewed the preparedness.

The NDRF is deploying 41 teams in Andhra Pradesh (eight teams), Odisha (28) and West Bengal (five teams). In addition, the
NDRF is keeping on standby 13 teams in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh, a Central government official said. Each team has about 45 personnel.

A leading daily quoted the Director of the regional meteorological centre in Odisha, H R Biswas, as saying that the impact of cyclone Fani is likely to be more severe than that of Titli which had hit the Odisha-Andhra coast last year and killed at least 60 people.