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Hudhud: Evacuation begins, flights, trains cancelled in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, October 11: With the prediction of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that the cyclonic storm Hudhud would badly affect the southern parts of the State, the Odisha government on Friday began evacuating people from vulnerable areas to ensure zero causality even as two flights and 39 trains on the route were cancelled.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) cancelled two flights from Odisha’s capital city to Vishakhapatnam.

“The decision was taken considering the safety of the passengers”, said Biju Patnaik International Airport Director Sharad Kumar.

However, all other flights from the airport are on schedule, the authorities informed.

Similarly, in its bid to ensure safety of passengers, the railways has decided to cancel, short terminate and divert some trains in view of the very severe cyclonic storm likely to make landfall near Vishakhapatanam on Sunday.

The major trains which have been cancelled by the East Coast Railway (ECoR) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday included Bhubaneswar-Bangalore Prashanti Express, Bhubaneswar-Visakhpatnam Intercity, Bhubaneswar-Yesvantpur Express, Bhubaneswar-Secunderabad Visakha Express, Puri-Okha Express, Bhubaneswar-Tirupaty Express, Puri-Tirupaty Express, Bhubaneswar-CSTM Konark Express, Puri-Chennai Express, Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada Ratnachalam, Visakhapatnam-Tirupaty Tirumala Express and Visakhapatnam-Nizamuddin Dakshin Link Express.

“The collectors of eight districts, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Kandhamal have been on the job to shift people from vulnerable areas to safe places,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.

Rains have been reported from some areas, mostly in the southern region but there was no report of any major damage so far, sources in the SRC said.

Malkangiri, which is likely to the worst hit, is experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds have been reported from it. One ‘kuchha’ house at Gudguta village was damaged as a tree fell on it but there was no report of any casualty from anywhere in the district.

Mohapatra said about 3.5 lakh people, including those living in the coast of Ganjam are being evacuated and the district authorities have been asked to start a free kitchen.

The district authorities have also been asked to stock adequate quantities of dryfood.

The government has deployed 25 units – 15 of NDRF and 10 of ODRF, each comprising 40 personnel, besides fire service men in vulnerable places in different parts of the state, the SRC said.

The SRC said the Malkangiri collector has been asked to ensure that none should remain inside ‘kutcha’ houses. All the people living in such houses should be evacuated to safe places in keeping with the state’s target of zero casualty.

Though the state government is expecting the maximum wind speed in areas adjoining Andhra Pradesh to remain within 100 kmph, it apprehended that heavy rainfall could create problems for the people.

 “The rainfall could be in the range of 10 cm to 25 cm within a span of only 36 hours from tomorrow afternoon,” said Mohapatra.

He said besides the eight identified districts, many other places would also receive rainfall from tomorrow afternoon till Monday afternoon as per the IMD prediction.

Preparations were ready to deal with possible flood in rivers like Rushikulya, Bamsadhara and Nagavali due to heavy rains that would accompany the cyclone.

The state has received 14 satellite phones and the Centre has also send eight more NDRF teams as per its request whit the government has cancelled holidays today (second Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) and all offices of the state government, including PSUs will remain open.

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