As cyclone Hudhud hurtled towards Andhra coast, the Odisha government evacuated more than 26,000 people by Saturday from low-lying coastal areas of eight districts.
The administration has stocked food and other essential commodities in more than 300 cyclone shelters and deployed 10 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and 15 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in vulnerable areas for search and rescue operations.
The Centre has provided 17 satellite phones for uninterrupted communication.
“Our contingency plan is ready. More people might be evacuated if necessary and as per the weather conditions,” Prem Chand Choudhury, Ganjam collector, told HT. At least 5,800 people were evacuated in Ganjam district that was worst hit by cyclone Phailin last year.
A total of 3,000 people were evacuated in Gopalpur, where Phailin had made a landfall.
Amidst heavy rain, administration officials visited seaside villages urging people to move to cyclone shelters but many stayed put till the evening.
Unlike during last year’s cyclone, the police too did not force them to board buses.
“We do not want to move from our house because this year’s cyclone is nothing as compared to last year’s Phailin. Besides, we have yet to get our compensation of last year’s cyclone,” said S Laxmi, a fisherwoman.
Met department said the wind speed in four districts -- Ganjam, Gajapati and Koraput and Malkangiri -- would be between 80 and 90 km on Sunday afternoon. The cyclone, however, will cause heavy rain after the landfall.
“The weather was volatile two days before cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur and there was palpable fear all around. This time, there is no force in the wind,” said Prasant Kumar Acharya from Berhampur.