Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and one of SDRF have been positioned in north coastal Andhra districts for rescue and relief operations as cyclonic storm Gulab is expected to cross the Bay of Bengal coast between Visakhapatnam and Gopalpur (in Odisha) on Sunday, September 26 evening. Authorities in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts have prepared a plan of action to possibly shift about 86,000 families from low-lying areas to cyclone relief shelters, a government release said.
"The State Emergency Operations Centre is constantly monitoring the situation while the District Emergency Operation Centres have also been activated with all communication systems. Collectors of the three north coastal Andhra districts have been asked to take all required precautionary measures in view of the cyclonic storm," the release said.
Two teams of NDRF have been deployed in Srikakulam district, which is expected to have more impact of the cyclone, and another in Visakhapatnam. An SDRF team has also been positioned in Visakhapatnam for emergency response. The state government said the district Collectors have been specifically instructed to evacuate vulnerable families to safer places even at short notice.
The State Disaster Management Authority has warned fishermen in these districts not to venture into the sea till September 27. Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy enquired about the situation with his secretaries and asked them to monitor the situation constantly and take required steps as heavy rains could be expected under the impact of the cyclone.
The NDRF teams in Odisha will be deployed in Balasore, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput, Nayagarh and Malkangiri districts. In Andhra Pradesh, the teams will be deployed in Yanam as well, apart from Vishakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram. An NDRF team usually has a strength of 47 personnel who are equipped with tree and pole cutters, communication gadgets, inflatable boats and basic medical aid to rescue affected people and to launch relief operations.
At 8.30 am on Saturday, September 25, the deep depression was centred around 470 km east-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha and 540 km east-northeast of Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. "It (the weather system) is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and move nearly westwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts between Visakhapatnam and Gopalpur, around Kalingapatnam, by the evening of September 26," the agency noted. IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the wind speed of the weather system will vary between 75 kmph and 85 kmph, gusting up to 95 kmph.
For September 27, the IMD forecast light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy showers at isolated places in Odisha and Telangana and torrential rainfall at isolated places in coastal West Bengal.