Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for timely evacuation of those involved in off-shore activities as he chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness of states and central government agencies to deal with the situation arising out of cyclone Yaas.
He asked officials to work in close coordination with states to ensure safe evacuation of people from high-risk areas, and to ensure that time duration of outages of power supply and communication network are minimum and restored swiftly, a PMO statement said.
Modi also asked officials to ensure proper coordination and planning with state governments to ensure that no disruption is caused to COVID-19 treatment and vaccination in hospitals.
He called for involving various stakeholders like coastal communities and industries and directly reaching out to them and sensitising them, the PMO said.
The India Meteorological Department has said that the cyclone is expected to cross West Bengal and north Odisha coasts by May 26 evening with the wind speed ranging 155-165 kmph and gusting to 185 kmph.
It is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal and north Odisha.
The IMD has also warned of storm surge in coastal areas of West Bengal and Odisha. The IMD has been issuing regular bulletins with latest forecast to all states concerned, the PMO noted.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is reviewing the situation and is in touch with the state governments, union territories and the central agencies concerned.
It has already released the first instalment of SDRF in advance to all states, and the National Disaster Response Force has pre-positioned 46 teams which are equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipments in five states and UT. In addition, 13 teams are being airlifted on Sunday for deployment and 10 teams have been kept on standby, the PMO noted.
Home Minister Amit Shah, other ministers and senior officials attended the meeting.
In a tweet, Modi said he emphasised on timely evacuation as well as ensuring that power and communications networks are not disrupted.
"Also emphasised on ensuring COVID-19 treatment of patients in affected areas does not suffer due to the cyclone. Praying for everyone's safety and well-being," he said.
The PMO said the Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief, search and rescue operations, while the Indian Air Force and engineer task force units of the Army, with boats and rescue equipment, are on standby for deployment.
Seven ships with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief units are on standby along the western coast, it added.
Highlighting the efforts being made by other ministries, the PMO said the Petroleum & Natural Gas ministry has taken measures to secure all oil installations in the sea and to bring back their shipping vessels to safe harbour.
The Ministry of Power has activated emergency response systems and is keeping in readiness transformers, DG sets and other equipment for immediate restoration of electricity.
The Ministry of Telecom is keeping all telecom towers and exchanges under constant watch and is fully geared to restore telecom networks while the Union Health Ministry has issued advisory to states and UTs concerned for health sector preparedness and response to COVID-19 in affected areas, it added.
The NDRF is assisting state agencies in their preparedness for evacuating people from vulnerable locations and is also continuously holding community awareness campaign on dealing with the cyclonic situation, it noted.