Odisha: Cyclone Gulab to make landfall on Sunday evening
The Odisha government has deployed 168 specialised units in seven districts of the state where Cyclone Gulab is likely to make a severe impact following its landfall on Sunday evening.
The units comprise teams from the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and fire service. Another 25 units have been kept on alert. The state government has cancelled leaves of the officials and asked them to remain on high alert.
Special relief commissioner P.K. Jena told reporters: “The landfall of the cyclonic storm will be near Kalingapatnam between Gopalpur in Ganjam district and Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). Districts like Kandhamal, Ganjam, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Gajapati will witness heavy rainfall with strong wind.”
A media release of the India Meteorological Department said: “The deep depression over northwest and adjoining west central Bay of Bengal moved westwards with a speed of 17km in last 6 hours and lay centred at 11.30 hrs over northwest and adjoining west central Bay of Bengal about 410 km east-southeast of Gopalpur (Odisha and 480 km east-northeast of Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh). It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during next 6 hours. It is likely to move nearly westwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh-south Odisha coasts between Kalingapatnum and Goapalpur by evening of 26th September.”
Jena also warned of flash floods in the Rushikulya, Nagavali and Vanshadhara rivers.
The state government is also worried about landslides under the impact of rainfall. When Cyclone Titli hit Odisha in 2018, landslides in the interior areas of Gajapati district had killed more than 24 people.
“We are gearing up the administration to face possible devastation caused by strong winds, rainfall and flash floods. Timely evacuation will be made from the vulnerable areas,” Jena said.
Officials said the state government is working with a mission to achieve zero casualty and efforts would begin to evacuate people from the vulnerable areas.
However, it seems that conditions for the cyclone are favourable at this point. “There was scorching heat in Ganjam today making it conducive for the movement of the cyclone towards the coast. I have been witnessing such a climate before any cyclone sets in,” said Berhampur-based photojournalist Gopal Krishna Reddy.
Fishermen have been told not to venture into the sea. Many fishermen were seen bringing their boats from the sea to safe locations so that there would be no damage to them during the landfall of the cyclone.