Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday, May 24 held a virtual interaction with the Chief Ministers of Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands regarding measures taken by the state to prepare for cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’. The storm is predicted to impact the Odisha-West Bengal coast, along with Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman-Nicobar region. The cyclonic storm will intensify into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ in the next 24 hours, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Under the impact of the cyclone, heavy rainfall is predicted in the north coastal part of Andhra Pradesh. As per the predictions of the IMD, the cyclonic storm will reach north Odisha and West Bengal coast on the morning of Wednesday, May 26. Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy assured the Union Minister during their interaction that the state government is vigilant and taking necessary precautions to minimise the damage. Earlier, on May 22, officials from all the departments in the state had a brief discussion on the preparedness for ‘Yaas’ via video conference, hosted by the Union Cabinet Secretary.
Following the meeting with Amit Shah, the Chief Minister held a review meeting with the officials to discuss the situation. During the meeting, he directed them to take up necessary measures to face the storm, particularly in regard to the spread of COVID-19 and other health risks. In the review meeting, the District Collectors of the coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts were directed to be on ‘high alert’. In Srikakulam, authorities have already begun the process of evacuating people from the vulnerable areas, where the storm is likely to make an impact. Other coastal districts are also taking similar measures.
Meanwhile, as per a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, the Chief Minister has directed the officials to immediately evacuate COVID-19 patients from Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts, if necessary. The Chief Minister also asked officials to take necessary steps to ensure that there are no power interruptions, and to ensure that the relief camps have all necessary facilities in place.
Stressing on the safety of COVID-19 patients, Jagan instructed authorities to ensure that oxygen supply to hospitals is not disrupted due to the storm. He also asked authorities to monitor oxygen generating plants for power outages, and asked electrical staff to be on standby at hospitals in case of power supply disruption.