Odisha Govt sets zero casualty target as Phailin approaches

Bhubaneswar: With IMD warning a storm surge of about 15 feet (3 meters) besides wind speed of about 220 kmph during landfall of cyclone Phailin tomorrow evening, Odisha government on Friday set a target of "zero casualty" and ordered speedy evacuation of people in seven coastal districts.
 
"The Collectors of all seven districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsingpur, Kendrapara, Nayagarh and Khurda have been directed to start evacuation and ensure 100 per cent evacuation of people to cyclone and flood shelters and other safe places by today evening," said Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N Patro.
 
The Collectors of Bhadrak and Balasore districts have also been alerted, the minister said.
 
As at least 9885 persons were killed in the super cyclone of 1999, the state government was concerned about the safety of the people. "Our first priority is zero casualty," Patro said.
 
Patro directed the district authorities said relief teams to be ready with relief material and necessary means of transportation. "Fuel like diesel, kerosene, LPG should be kept reserved in the district and block locations," Patro said.
 
Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra said the government has also directed opening of free kitchens from this evening for the people who would be evacuated to safe shelters. "Dry food should be kept reserved for the next day," Mohapatra said adding that the teams for clearing of roads must be kept ready with all required equipment.
 
"They (road clearing team) must be visible on roads just after the cyclone passes away and they should clear the roads within 12 hours of cyclone," Mohapatra said in his directive.
 
NHAI authorities have also been mobilized for clearing of National Highways, officials said adding that Police has been asked to strengthen patrolling on NH for smooth passage of vehicles carrying relief materials.
 
"We are making necessary arrangements for air dropping of food packets. Specific teams have been constituted for the purpose who are busy making food packets for 1 lakh people," a senior officer at the Special Relief Commission's office said.
 
"Apart from road cleaning, power and water supply should also be restored within 24 to 48 hours," Mohapatra said adding that the Food Supply department has been instructed to place enforcement squads in each district to ensure that essential commodities were not hoarded or over priced by unscrupulous business men, retailers and wholesellers.
 
Patro has warned that any businessman or person found involved in hoarding would be arrested and jailed. The state government has also directed to make advance arrangements for disposal of carcass and debris immediately after passing away of the cyclone.
 
Energy Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena informed that all executive engineers have been kept in readiness and all section offices of distribution companies have been kept ready with teams consisting of 15 to 20 members and necessary material for restoration of power supply.
 
Patro has also directed that the services of any government officer who remains absent and does not perform the assigned duties, will be terminated with immediate effect.
 
Meanwhile, the state government held a meeting with NGOs and gave specific responsibilities. "The NGOs are told to to mobilise people for evacuation and to assist in the process of providing them necessary services at safe shelters," Patro said.
 
The minister suggested to the Special Relief Commissioner to spell out the material to be accepted as relief from donor agencies, NGOs and individuals.
 
Kalinga stadium here is being used as state relief distribution centre.
 
Meanwhile, the health department cancelled holidays and leaves of all doctors in view of the impending situation.
 
"The doctors who are on leave are asked to join immediately," health minister Damodar Rout said.

 

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