Updated: May 23, 2021 10:17:39 am
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Saturday chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) over the impending cyclonic storm Yaas and directed concerned states to ensure that all boats and vessels return before the storm hits India’s eastern shore on May 26.
He also stressed on the evacuation of people to safer places and the protection of Covid-related infrastructure.
The meeting was attended by the chief secretaries and officers of West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. Secretaries of Ministries of Home, Power, Shipping, Telecom, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Civil Aviation and Fisheries, along with the Railway Board chairman, NDMA Member Secretary, IDS chief and the DGs of the Coast Guard, NDRF and IMD also participated.
The IMD DG briefed the committee about the latest status of the storm, which is expected to reach the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha coast on May 26 evening, with wind speeds ranging from 155 to 165 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surges in the coastal districts of these states, officials said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement, “Reviewing the preparedness of the Central and State agencies, Shri Rajiv Gauba stressed that the all measures should be taken in a timely manner so that loss of life and destruction of property is minimized. He emphasised on the early evacuation of people from the areas likely to be affected by the cyclone along with ensuring the return of all boats/vessels to the shores, so that there is zero loss of life.”
Gauba is learnt to have stressed that safety of Covid patients be ensured and disruption of functioning of Covid hospitals and centres be avoided. He also advised that steps be taken to maintain the generation and movement of oxygen from the affected areas to other parts of the country, officials said.
“The Cabinet Secretary also said that preparatory arrangements should be made to restore power, telecom and other important services. He directed the concerned agencies to work in close co-ordination and extend all requisite assistance to the States/UTs,” the MHA statement said.
According to the ministry, the states’ chief secretaries apprised the committee of the preparatory measures put in place to deal with the storm. Sources said evacuation of people from low-lying areas is being carried out even as adequate stocks of foodgrains, drinking water and other essential supplies have been arranged and preparations are on to maintain essential services such as power and telecommunications, among others.
Officials said the NDRF has deployed 65 teams and 20 more teams are on standby. Rescue and relief teams of the Army, Navy and Coast Guard, along with ships and aircrafts have also been deployed.
“Necessary arrangements are also being made to ensure uninterrupted functioning of hospitals and Covid Care Centres, along with ensuring generation and supply of oxygen to Covid facilities across the country,” the MHA statement said.
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