19 districts of Odisha, West Bengal & Andhra Pradesh likely to be hit; landfall anytime after tomorrow afternoon; several tourists from Assam among those in relief camps
Guwahati: The evacuation process for over 8 lakh people residing in the coastal state of Odisha has already started following the ‘yellow warning’ issued by Indian meteorological department. India is bracing for a severe tropical cyclone, Fani (pronounced Foni), as it is all set to make a landfall anytime after Friday afternoon.
The evacuation of 8 lakh people is said to be one of the largest ever conducted in the country, special relief commissioner BP Sethi was quoted as saying by media reports. At least 14 districts of Odisha are likely to bear the brunt of the cyclone which may also impact the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
“People residing in low-lying and vulnerable areas of coastal districts are being shifted to safer places such as 880 cyclone centres, schools and colleges and to other safety structures,” Sethi added.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who reviewed the evacuation preparedness on Wednesday, said that there was a need to give special attention to pregnant women, children, elderly people and differently-abled persons.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the cyclone, the Assam government has requested the Assamese community residing in the coastal districts to come back to the state for their safety.
Significantly, following the cyclone warning, the railway authorities have cancelled a total of 81 trains across India, including three connecting Assam and the Northeast. However, three special trains will run from Puri to Howrah and Shalimar in West Bengal on Thursday for the evacuation of tourists and passengers.
As per the latest reports by the Indian meteorological department, Fani is located in the Bay of Bengal, roughly 500 km east of Chennai, and rapidly intensifying and strengthening throughout the week and heading its track toward eastern India.
The weather forecast also stated that there will be rainfall at many places, heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and there will be extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places in coastal Odisha and the interior districts of the state on May 3.