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Nation facing dual disasters of Amphan cyclone and Covid-19: NDRF

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 19, 2020

NDRF personnel are seen near a coastal village in Odisha in their effort to evacuate villagers before the Cyclone Amphan makes landfall.   -  Special Arrangement

Having to deal with a super cyclone of this intensity at a time when the country is grappling with a pandemic is nothing but a big challenge, said SN Pradhan, Director General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), here on Tuesday.

Detailing the rescue plan at a press conference, Pradhan said, “Amphan Cyclone will make the landfall tomorrow. It will be in the category of ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm and preparedness is being taken accordingly.”

“It is for the first time that we are having to face two disasters simultaneously, we are facing a dual challenge of cyclone in the time of Covid-19,” said Pradhan. He said that there are 21 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in West Bengal and 20 in Odisha - the two States to be most impacted by the cyclone.

Pradhan added that due to social distancing norms, cyclone rehabilitation centres that house 1,000 people can now only hold 400 or 500 people.

Emphasising the magnitude of the cyclone, Director General of Meteorology, India Meteorological Department, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, said: “Amphan is the most intense and second super cyclone after 1999 Odisha cyclone. We are utilising all tools and technologies to monitor it.”

Post-cycle comunications

To ensure post-cyclone communications, the centre has held consultations with telecom service providers. “After the passing of Amphan cyclone, intra-circle roaming will be operational, i.e., subscribers will be able to latch on to network of whichever telecom operator is available, if services of the operator whose services they are using get disrupted,” said Anshu Prakash, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications.

For quick restoration of power supplies, the Power Ministry is in touch with State governments and power distribution companies for possible restoration efforts. An emergency response system is ready and in place to restore transmission lines, towers and power transformers that may be damaged, said SKG Rahate, Additional Secretary, Minister of Power.

Published on May 19, 2020

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