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Odisha Govt Shuts Schools, Asks Pilgrims to Leave Temple Town Puri as Cyclone Fani Inches Closer

The Odisha government has also issued an advisory for tourists to evacuate the temple town of Puri by Thursday evening and cancel all non-essential travel plans to the coastal districts of the state for four days.

Anand ST Das | News18

Updated:May 1, 2019, 5:23 PM IST
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Odisha Govt Shuts Schools, Asks Pilgrims to Leave Temple Town Puri as Cyclone Fani Inches Closer
Odisha Fire Service and Disaster Response personnel prepare for emergencies in view of Cyclone Fani (PTI)

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government and the disaster management forces on Wednesday carried out massive preparation and coordination exercises to minimise possible damage from Cyclone Fani, which is expected to pass through the coastal state on Friday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that cyclone Fani has intensified into an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” in the Bay of Bengal. A formal cyclone alert has been issued by IMD for Odisha, West Bengal and parts of Andhra Pradesh and evacuation of coastal areas has been advised.

As a part of its mitigation strategy, the Naveen Patnaik-led government in the state handed special supervision charges to nine IAS officers. Out of these, seven bureaucrats are tasked with supervising relief, rescue and rehabilitation charges in six districts and have been asked to join their duties in the districts by afternoon.

All educational institutions in the state will remain shut from Thursday in light of the cyclonic storm.

Within the next 12 hours, Cyclone Fani is likely to move northwestwards and cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chanbali and reach south of the prominent pilgrimage town of Puri by Friday afternoon, IMD said. It predicted a maximum wind speed of 175-185 kmph that can rise up to 205 kmph.

The latest forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), a joint command of US Navy and Air Force, said that Cyclone Fani would cross near Puri (Balukhanda) on Friday afternoon. It will have a wind speed of about 175 kmph before landfall and would pass through Odisha’s coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack (Niali), Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj before sweeping to West Bengal.

The Odisha government has also issued an advisory for tourists to evacuate the temple town of Puri by Thursday evening and cancel all non-essential travel plans to the coastal districts of the state for four days.

Fishermen in the state have been asked not to venture far out into the southwest and southeast of Bay of Bengal. Officials of the disaster management department said 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters, which can accommodate about a million people, have been kept ready in the state.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is currently busy deploying 28 teams in vulnerable areas in Odisha. The state government has already put 20 units of the State Disaster Response Force on standby.

The Coast Guard and the Navy are also deploying ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations in the state. The Army and Air Force units have been placed on standby in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

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| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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