Severe Cyclonic Storm Fani, is a strengthening tropical cyclone which is currently threatening India and Bangladesh. Cyclone Fani originated due to a tropical depression formed at the west of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean in the last week of April. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) observed a tropical disturbance in the North Indian Ocean.
Cyclone Fani drifted towards the west and gradually grew in strength. It then started moving towards the north and struggled to intensify due to moderate vertical wind shear hampering its progress. After moving away due to wind shear, Cycle Fani began intensifying rapidly and has become a massive cyclonic storm. Cyclone Fani is the first storm of the season.
Cyclone Fani is expected to hit the Indian states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The state of Odisha, previously known as Orissa, is affected by storms each year and this is one of the main reasons why the state of Odisha is underdeveloped.
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Cyclone Fani is expected to hit the coast of Odisha by May 3rd, 2019. The system is likely to intensify further and turn into an extremely severe cyclonic storm and cross the Odisha coast near Gopalpur and Chandbali on May 3rd with a sustained speed of over 175-185 km/hr. The wind speed is expected to further increase and touch 205 km/hr.
Cuttack, Jajpur, Ganjam, Puri, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Bhadrak and Balasore districts are likely to be affected by Cyclone Fani. The cyclone might also affect the district of Mayurbhanj and adjoining parts of Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The Government of Odisha has directed the collectors of all the concerned districts to stay alert and has cancelled the leave requests of government employees. The government has created at least 879 shelters, and can accommodate more than a million people during natural disasters like cyclones and floods.
It was initially thought that the cyclone Fani would graze the Odisha coast and then move towards the north, but it is now coming straight at the state. The severity of the storm can trigger storm surges as high as 7 meters along the coastline and may cause the sea to sweep inland up to 10 kilometers. Hence, evacuation of the people living in areas closer to the sea to cyclone shelters is a must. Nearly 8 Lakh people along the coastline are likely to be evacuated.
Andhra Pradesh too is bracing for cyclone Fani. The coastal districts of Vishakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam are on high alert. These districts are likely to be affected by cyclone Fani on 3rd May 2019. High alert has been issued to the district of East Godavari.
South Bengal districts of East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Jhargram, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata are issued warnings for heavy rains. Fishermen have been instructed to shut down all fishing related activities and have been told not to venture into the sea until the next update. Mamata Banerjee was to hold her election meeting at East Medinipur on 3rd May, she has rescheduled it citing the cyclone Fani. The State Government has held meetings with the Coast Guard, Army, Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to discuss how to tackle the upcoming potential natural disaster.
Tamil Nadu is expected to be least affected among the four coastal states that are bracing for cyclone Fani. The northward movement of the cyclone has dashed hopes of residents of Chennai, receiving rainfall in the scorching summer. The temperatures in North Tamil Nadu like Chennai, Vellore, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai and Villupuram is expected to rise over the weekend as dry heat from the Rayalaseema is directed here by the North West winds. Districts of Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Salem might witness heavy showers. Kerala too might receive some rainfall.
Natural disasters cause immense loss and damage to public property. Lives of thousands of people are at risk. It is the responsibility of the Government to protect public interest in these situations.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a specialized force, established for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster, under the Disaster Management Act, enacted in 2005. The supreme body for disaster management in India is the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The head of the NDMA is the Prime Minister of India.
The Central Government is responsible for providing support and assistance to the affected states, when a natural calamity of severe nature strikes. The responsibility includes deploying armed Forces, Central Paramilitary Forces (CRPF), National Disaster Response Force and other relevant forces.
NDRF functions under the National Disaster Management Authority. The supreme person of the NDRF is designated as Director General. The Director Generals of NDRF are IPS officers who are deputed from the Indian police organizations.
The NDRF is a top-heavy organization which in addition to the Director General has numerous Inspector Generals (IG) and Deputy IGs (DIGs).
NDRF has given commendable performances during various disasters. This includes building collapses, landslides, floods and cyclones. NDRF has rescued 1,33,192 individuals and retrieved 276 dead bodies of victims in 73 response operations across the country. Some of the major response operations carried out by NDRF is mentioned below:
As per the decision of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allocated Rs 1,086 crores to the four coastal states from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Chief and Principal Secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal participated in the NCMC Meeting through video conference to discuss the readiness to face potential disasters.
The amounts were released in advance to make the necessary arrangements for dealing with the potential disaster from cyclone Fani. Under this, Andhra Pradesh has been allocated Rs 200.25 crore, Odisha with Rs 340.87 crore, while the states of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are allocated Rs 309.37 crore and Rs 235.50 crore, respectively.
The Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard have deployed their ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations at strategic locations. The Indian Air Force and the Indian Army units in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal have been put on standby.
Indian Naval ships at Chennai and Visakhapatnam have been put on standby to proceed to the most affected areas to carry out Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support which includes providing medical aid. The NDRF has said that it has deployed as many as 41 teams in Andhra Pradesh (8), Odisha (28) and West Bengal (5). Further, the NDRF has 13 teams on standby in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh. One NDRF team has 45 personnel.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is issuing bulletins every 3 hours, with the latest forecast on states, expected to be hit by the cyclone. The Home Ministry is in touch with the concerned state governments and the central agencies.
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