Bhubaneswar: Cyclone Titli is expected to make a landfall with the wind speed in the range of 145-165 km per hour along the coast between Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh at 5.30 AM on Thursday. In the wake of the ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, over 3 lakh people have been evacuated from the coastal areas of Odisha.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited office of Special Relief Commissioner this evening and reviewed preparedness for impending landfall of the cyclonic storm. He said, “If required, more people will be evacuated to safer places.”

Adding further, he stressed on the government’s ‘zero casualty’ disaster management policy and said, “The state government has been closely monitoring the situation. The district collectors are already on high alert.”

People living in low lying areas of five coastal districts of the state namely Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara have been evacuated while, arrangements for restoration work have been made by different departments.

All schools, colleges and Anganwadi centres will remain closed on October 11 and 12. The leaves of all offices have also been cancelled. Meanwhile, Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) exam that was scheduled to take place on October 11 and 12 in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Sambalpur, Khurda and Berhamapur has been postponed till further notice.

NDRF Teams Rushed to Odisha, Andhra Pradesh And West Bengal

Meanwhile, the Centre has rushed nearly 1,000 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal Wednesday as Cyclone Titli made its way towards the coast. It also issued directions for storage of food, fuel and maintaining power supply and telecommunication lines.

A total of 14 teams of NDRF have been deployed in Odisha, while four teams in Andhra Pradesh along with necessary rescue equipment. Three NDRF teams were also deployed in West Bengal. A team of NDRF comprises around 45 personnel.

Furthermore, the three states have also deployed their own rescue teams along with power boats. The Army, the Navy and the Coastguard have also been put on standby so that they can be deployed at short notice as per requirement. Additional NDRF teams have been put on standby in areas likely to be affected in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Train Services Suspended

The train services between Khurda Road and Vizianagram from both directions will remain suspended after 10 PM on Wednesday. In view of the very severe cyclonic storm, IndiGo Airline has cancelled five flights to and from Bhubaneswar.

Heavy to Very Heavy Rainfall Predicted

The IMD has predicted “heavy to very heavy rainfall” at several places and “extremely heavy rainfall” at isolated areas till Thursday under the impact of the ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm which has been gaining strength.

Districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall till Thursday, the IMD said. It also forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall for Kandhamal, Boudh and Dhenkanal districts from Thursday.

Fishing Operations Suspended

The IMD advised total suspension of fishing operations and shifting of coastal hutment dwellers to safe places. Fishermen along the Odisha coast, and central and north Bay of Bengal were advised not to venture into sea till Friday. In view of rough sea conditions, the IMD has also advised hoisting of great danger signal GD-10 at Gopalpur and Puri and GD-9 at Paradip and Chandbali ports in Odisha. Around 300 motor boats have been arranged to assist in rescue operation as there is a likelihood of flood situation due to possibility of heavy rains till October 11. Furthermore, all the 836 cyclone and flood shelters have been kept prepared and adequate relief materials arranged.