(Image source from: The Week)
As cyclonic storm 'Titli' is moving towards the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast, the Odisha government on Tuesday is set to face the situation, setting a target of "zero casualtties".
The Odisha government has ordered shut down of schools, colleges and Anganwadi centers in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, and Jagtsinghpur from Wednesday.
The government said Titli was likely to make landfall early on Thursday morning.
In the meantime, the IMD issued a red alert in Odisha for Wednesday and Thursday, forecasting "heavy to very heavy rainfall" at several places and "extremely heavy rainfall" at isolated areas in the state.
The state has put the districts on high alert and asked the authorities to evacuate those surviving in low-lying regions and in 'kutcha' houses along the coast.
"Zero casualty is part of the state government's disaster management policy. Stocking of food and shifting of people to cyclone shelters are also included in the policy," Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi told PTI.
During previous cyclones such as Phailin in 2013 and Hudhud in 2014, the Odisha government had ensured zero casualties and earned laurels from the United Nations for successful disaster management.
On Tuesday, Padhi reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting on Titli attended by all secretaries, special relief commissioner (SRC) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officers.
Padhi said the IMD has forecast wind speed during Titli would be 100 to 110kmph, gusting to 125kmph. IMD has also mentioned that the cyclone Titli will further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, Titli lay centered about 510km southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha and 460km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
In the meantime, Deputy Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Mohapatra said around 300 motor boats have been arranged to assist in the rescue operations related to Titli.
He said teams of NDRF and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) along with Fire Service personnel have been sent to various districts.
All the 879 cyclone and flood shelters have been kept in a state of readiness for Titli, the officer added.