Five teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in parts of north Tamil Nadu in preparation for the landfall of Cyclone Vardah on Monday afternoon.
Speaking to The News Minute, Assistant Commandant Raajan Balu said that five teams of 40 men, totalling 200 men, have been dispatched, with two teams each headed for Thiruvallur District and Chennai, and one team headed for Mahabalipuram.
Balu said the request from the state government for NDRF support was received on Sunday morning, and teams were dispatched within hours, with all necessary flood-related and other equipment. â€śLandfall is expected tomorrow, and weâ€™ll be ready for it. In case of any eventuality the teams will be deployed as and when required, and according to the need of the state administration,â€ť he said.
He added that once the teams are in place soon after Sunday noon, on-ground assessments will be made in order to decide if evacuation is necessary in any low-lying coastal areas. â€śThere is sufficient time till landfall, and in case it is necessary, evacuation will be carried out,â€ť he said.
The Navy has also prepared itself to tackle any eventualities arising from the cyclone, readying ships and aircraft for relief efforts. According to a release from the Press Information Bureau, the Eastern Naval Command has placed all operational ships on standby, to undertake humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. "These ships are embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets etc, in quantities sufficient to sustain over 5000 personnel. Additionally, thirty diving teams with Gemini boats and four platoons with additional relief material are ready to be pressed into action at short notice," the release said.
The Chennai corporation has also been prepared from the beginning of this month.
â€śThe control room will monitor the flood situation, inundations, marooning, traffic flow and media reports. "Even if there is water stagnation, it will be resolved in a few hours and will not affect traffic and normal life," an official said. Usually, monsoon meetings are chaired by the mayor or commissioner. On Wednesday, municipal administration minister and the department secretary presided. Official sources said this was expected to plug holes in coordination among corporation, Metrowater, police, electricity, slum clearance board and public works departments."
Officials in the corporation, Metrowater and collectorate will be in the loop on a walkie talkie network.
Four centralised kitchens have been set up to cook and send out food in an emergency. Civic officials said demonetisation would make it difficult as there was a shortage of cash.
Motor pumps had been placed in 580 spots including subways and flyovers. The corporation bought heavy-duty pumps for 20 localities where even mild rain could cause inundation. Pumps of 200 HP, borrowed from CMRL, were on standby. Snake-catchers from the Irular community were roped in as snakes entered several homes last year.â€ť