Cyclone Hudhud: PM Narendra Modi reviews preparedness; over 2 lakh evacuated in AP, Odisha

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New Delhi, Oct 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held an emergency high-level meeting to review preparedness for cyclone Hudhud and asked officials to ensure that rescue and relief operations proceed smoothly and people are informed about the cyclone on a real-time basis.

Modi also asked home minister Rajnath Singh to be in touch with the chief ministers of the states likely to be affected by it, an official statement said.

"He instructed senior officers of the Union government to maintain close contact and coordination with officers of the affected states to ensure that relief and rescue operations proceed smoothly.

"He said suitable arrangements should be made to inform people about the cyclone on a real-time basis," it said.

The meeting was attended by the Cabinet secretary, principal secretary to the PM, home secretary, defence secretary and other senior officials from the Indian Meteorological Department and the PMO.

The cyclone is expected to make a landfall near Visakhapatnam by Sunday noon.

Modi was briefed on evacuation and other precautionary and preparatory measures being undertaken for coping with the cyclone.

Meanwhile, over two lakh people living in and around the vulnerable coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have been evacuated with cyclone 'Hudhud' set to hit the two states on Sunday with winds gusting up to 195 kmph.

The cyclone is expected to make a landfall near Visakhapatnam by Sunday afternoon, a senior official said, adding, about 1.11 lakh people in five coastal districts have been shifted to safer places.

The Andhra government has made arrangements to evacuate 5,14,725 people in all, officials said, while the Army and the Navy have kept their personnel on stand-by for rescue and relief operations.

In Odisha, the state government on Saturday began evacuating people from vulnerable areas to minimise casualties even as two flights and 39 trains on the route were cancelled.

"The collectors of eight districts - Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Kandhamal have been on the job to shift people from vulnerable areas to safe places," special relief commissioner (SRC) PK Mohapatra said.

The cyclone will attain its top speed of 195 kmph early on Sunday morning, the IMD said.

The cyclone, which lay centred 250 km southwest of Visakhapatnam and 340 km south-southeast of Gopalpur at 2.30pm, will attain speed of 170-180 kmph around 5.30am on Sunday with winds gusting up to 195 kmph, a bulletin issued by the Indian Meteorological Department said in Delhi.

The National Crisis Management Committee took stock of the preparedness of various state and central government agencies to deal with the cyclone.

The meeting was chaired by Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth and it took stock of the relief and rescue measures put in place in both the states after discussing the subject with the chief secretaries of the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

"All the central agencies are fully geared up to provide necessary assistance to these states in case of any eventualities arising out of the landfall of the cyclone expected tomorrow," a Union home ministry statement said.


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