Modi chairs emergency meeting on Cyclone

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with school students across the nation during a Teachers' Day programme at Manekshaw Auditorium, in New Delhi on September 05, 2014. (Photo: IANS/PIB)Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired an emergency high-level meeting to review the preparedness for Cyclone Hudhud as heavy rains accompanied by winds lashed parts of north coastal Andhra in the evening and 400,000 people were evacuated from the area.

After reviewing the emerging situation, the prime minister asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to remain in touch with chief ministers of the states likely to be affected by the cyclone.

He instructed senior officers of the union government to maintain close contact and coordination with officers of the affected states, to ensure that relief and rescue operations proceed smoothly. He said suitable arrangements should be made to inform people about the cyclone on a real-time basis, according to an official statement.

The prime minister was briefed on evacuation and other ongoing precautionary and preparatory measures being undertaken for the cyclone. These include deployment of teams from the Armed Forces and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), depletion of reservoirs to accommodate cyclonic rainwater, positioning of boats, swimmers and relief camps, and standby systems to restore power and telecom services, the statement said.

The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, Ajit Seth, the principal secretary to the prime minister, the home secretary, the defence secretary, and other senior officials from the India Meteorological Department and the Prime Minister’s Office.

Authorities have closed the Ichapuram-Kakinada national highway for traffic. Kakinada-Uppada highway in East Godavari district was damaged as water gushing out of sea due to high waves inundated the road.

Fishing operations have been suspended while highest warning signal has been hoisted at the ports in the region.

High alert has been sounded in the northern coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam and adjoining districts of East Godavari and West Godavari which are bracing for the cyclone, which is all set to make a landfall around Visakhapatnam Sunday forenoon.

Officials said 370 relief camps have been opened in five districts, where 396 villages are likely to be affected. In Srikakulam district, 1.85 lakh people will be sheltered in 110 camps. Over 86,000 people will be evacuated in West Godavari district and over 72,000 in East Godavari district.

According to India Meterological Department (IMD) bulletin issued in the afternoon, the cyclone is lying 260 km southeast of Visakhapatnam.

Thirteen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been positioned while three more teams are in reserve at Guntur.