Chennai: The government is preparing a range of personnel to prevent loss of life and reduce damage from Cyclone Fani, which is expected to hit the northern part of the state on Tuesday-Wednesday next week.
Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan held an emergency meeting with secretaries of various departments and revenue officials and disaster response forces and advised them to take steps to face the cyclone.
The DGP also issued a circular to police to be prepared and keep the state and central disaster response forces and the Coast Guard on standby for the cyclone that is expected to make landfall on Tuesday-Wednesday next week.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, S. Balachandran, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, said the well low-marked low pressure area over equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal had intensified into a depression.
The system lay about 1,490 km southeast of Chennai (Tamil Nadu), 1,760 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and 1,140 km east-southeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).
He said that it was very likely to intensify into a deep depression during the next 24 hours and into a cyclonic storm in the subsequent 12 hours.
"It is very likely to move northwestwards off the Sri Lanka coast during the next four days and reach near north Tamil Nadu and the south Andhra Pradesh coast on the evening of April 30," he said.
Mr Balachandran said, "As of now, the system will move northwest and reach near the north Tamil Nadu coast. There are chances of heavy rain in isolated places in north Tamil Nadu. Wind speeds are expected to be between 90 and 100 km per hour with gusts blowing at 115 km per hour on April 29."
Following the alert, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan held a meeting with senior officials and secretaries of various departments at noon on Friday. Later, Dr K. Satyagopal, director, Disaster Management and Commissioner of Revenue Administration, held a meeting with district collectors through video conference and directed them to remain alert.
Mr Satyagopal said the authorities had advised fishermen not venture into the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal from April 25 and to avoid going to the Bay of Bengal along and off the Sri Lanka, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh on April 29 and 30. Official advised the fishermen, who ventured into the sea to return home before April 28.
Mr Satyagopal said the government had formed state and district level monitoring squads and inter-departmental zonal teams. The IDZT would reach the vulnerable stops to alert the people and take steps to evacuate them from the spots. Additional personnel would be deployed in the districts if needed.
Based on the Met department's alert, the authorities would deploy six NDRF teams, SDRF and Coast Guard personnel in the areas which are expected to face the brunt of the cyclone. All relief and rescue centres in the districts would be kept ready. The authorities have identified a number of government, school and private buildings to be used as relief centres, which would be kept ready to accommodate people.
The government has identified 4,331 vulnerable spots in the state. These centres would be placed on a map along with the route to enable the people to reach them.
Disaster response guards would be deployed to provide support to the IDZT. In addition to this, 30,000 persons, including 8,000 women, were identified as first respondents and more than 8,000 first respondents would deployed to protect the animals.
For the first time, the authorities have set up first response teams to immediately remove trees which may be uprooted during the cyclone. Students and volunteers were invited to support the teams. The collectors have held meetings with first response teams. Civil service officials were advised to store adequate stock of essential commodities.