Navy and Coast Guard ships and helicopters, relief teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in strategic locations while Army and Air Force units have been put on standby as severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' is approaching towards India's eastern coast, officials said.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country's top body to deal with emergency situations, met here Tuesday for the second time in as many days and reviewed the preparedness with the states and departments concerned of the central government to deal with the situation arising out of the cyclonic storm.
"The Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force units in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal have also been put on standby," a home ministry official said.
The NDRF is deploying 41 teams in Andhra Pradesh (eight teams), Odisha (28) and West Bengal (five teams) for prepositioning.
In addition, the NDRF is keeping on standby 13 teams in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh, the official said.
A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) comprises about 45 personnel.
A home ministry statement said based on the decision of the first meeting of the NCMC, headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, the central government has already released advance financial assistance of Rs 1,086 crore to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal to assist them in undertaking preventive and relief measures.
States have issued advisories and are ensuring that fishermen do not venture into the sea.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has been issuing three hourly bulletins with the latest forecast to all the states concerned. The home ministry is also in continuous touch with the state governments and the central agencies concerned.
Reviewing the preparedness of the states and central agencies, the cabinet secretary directed that all necessary measures be taken to prevent any loss of life and to keep in readiness essential supplies including food, drinking water and medicines etc, the statement said.
He also advised all concerned to make adequate preparations to ensure the maintenance of essential services such as power, telecommunications in the event of damages caused to them.
During the meeting, officers of all state governments concerned confirmed their preparedness to deal with any emerging situation arising out of the cyclonic storm.
The IMD informed that the severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' lay centred this afternoon at about 800 km south of Puri.
According to the IMD, it is very likely to intensify further into an extremely severe cyclonic storm during next 24 hours and move northwestwards till May 1 evening and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards and reach Odisha coast by the afternoon of May 3.
Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha, East and West Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogly and Kolkata districts of West Bengal, and Srikakulam and Vijayanagram districts of Andhra Pradesh are likely to be affected according to present indications, the statement said.
Chief secretaries and principal secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal participated in the NCMC Meeting through video conference.
Senior officers from the ministries of home, shipping, fisheries, power, telecommunications, defence, IMD and NDRF also attended the meeting.
The NCMC will meet again Wednesday to take stock of the emerging situation.
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