Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday reviewed the preparations for Cyclone Yaas including the evacuation of people on the high seas as well as in vulnerable coastal areas and the safety of COVID-19 facilities. He discussed the possible impact of the cyclone on oxygen generation plants located in West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and asked the state governments to ensure their safety.
At a video conference held with the chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal and the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the minister said a 24x7 control room is functioning in the MHA, which can be contacted by them any time for assistance.
Shah specifically conveyed to the states likely to be impacted by the cyclone which is forming in the Bay of Bengal to make adequate power backup arrangements in all COVID-19 hospitals, laboratories, vaccine cold chains and other medical facilities, a home ministry statement said.
The home minister advised the states -- Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands -- to make advance planning for keeping a buffer stock of oxygen for two days and movement of oxygen tankers to allocated states so that in case of any disruption, the supply is not impacted.
The home minister also reviewed the preparedness of the states and UT to ensure that all fishermen are brought back to shore and the timely evacuation of people from low-lying and vulnerable areas, the statement said. Shah advised them to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in hospitals, keeping in view the likely disruption of the movement of vehicles.
For health facilities, including temporary hospitals, Shah advised them to make adequate arrangements for securing them from losses and for evacuation of patients in advance, if necessary.
READ MORE: Cyclone Yaas: Deep depression over Bay of Bengal to intensify into 'severe cyclonic storm' in 24 hrs
The home minister said advance action taken in this regard on the western coast in the recent cyclone ensured that there was no adverse impact on any medical facility.
He stressed the need to make necessary arrangements for the safety of power plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply to hospitals and health facilities.
The safety of all shipping and fishing vessels, and all ports and oil installations in the area was also reviewed during the meeting, the statement said.
He advised them to disseminate messages in local languages over mobile phones, television, social media and through village panchayats, with a view to educate and motivate people.
As practised by Odisha, volunteers, such as Home Guards, NCC and civil defence may also be mobilised in helping in the evacuation of people, he said.
The home minister asked authorities to ensure the safety of power and telecommunication services and their timely restoration.
He advised the state governments and the UT of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to make advance planning and pre-position required manpower, equipment and material at vulnerable locations.
He emphasised the need to look after the safety of power lines during the cyclone, and to promptly restore any damage that occurs.
Further, he said that timely pruning of trees will help in damage mitigation.
Shah advised the state governments and the UT of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to be in touch with the India Meteorological Department for their advance warnings and updated forecasts.
Shah also assured the states and the UT of all cooperation of the central government and its agencies. He said that maximum resources, both government and private, should be utilised to tackle the situation.
He said the Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, the Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial sorties.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked the central government for convening the meeting and for extending assistance to the state government in its preparedness efforts, the statement said.
Patnaik assured that all necessary steps have been taken by the Odisha government to handle and manage the cyclone.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also assured that necessary steps are being taken to ensure that there is minimal loss of life and property due to the impending cyclone, and that the state government is fully prepared, it said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy thanked the central Government and assured it that necessary precautions are being taken.
Lt. Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Admiral (Retd) D K Joshi said the cyclone is likely to have little or negligible impact on the Islands.
The meeting was also attended by secretaries of the ministries of Home Affairs, Health, Telecommunications, Road Transport and Highways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, members of the NDMA, besides others.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the preparations for dealing with the situation that may arise due to Cyclone Yaas.