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Cyclone Tauktae: Amit Shah stresses on protection of COVID hospitals, oxygen plants

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New Delhi, May 16: Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the preparedness for Cyclone Tauktae in Gujarat, Maharashtra and two Union territories on Sunday and "specifically" stressed that all health facilities, including those for COVID-19 treatment, falling in the affected areas should be secured along with the patients.

Amit Shah

At a video-conference with the chief ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra and the administrators of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Shah also advised them to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in the hospitals, keeping in view a likely disruption in the movement of vehicles, a statement issued by the Union home ministry said.

Tauktae is expected to reach the Gujarat coast in the morning of May 18 with wind speeds of 150-160 km per hour, accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surge.

The statement said Shah "specifically reviewed the preparedness of all health facilities in the areas likely to be impacted by the cyclone".

"He directed the state administration/district collectors to make adequate power backup arrangements in all COVID hospitals, labs, vaccine cold chains and other medical facilities," it added.

For the health facilities likely to fall on the cyclone path, the home minister directed authorities for adequate arrangements to secure them and also for the evacuation of patients.

"They were also told to ensure the safety of the temporary hospitals set up near the oxygen-generating plants, in case needed, their patients may be shifted to other hospitals," the statement said.

Cyclone Tauktae to bring very heavy rains to Konkan, Mumbai on on May 17Cyclone Tauktae to bring very heavy rains to Konkan, Mumbai on on May 17

Shah also reviewed the impact of the cyclone on the oxygen-generation plants located in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

"The minister directed authorities to make advance planning for keeping a buffer stock of oxygen for two days and for movement of oxygen tankers to allocated states, so that in case of any disruption, supply is not impacted," it said.

The chief ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra "assured the minister of taking all necessary measures" to secure the healthcare facilities and the oxygen-generation plants.

The home minister also directed to make necessary arrangements for the safety of the power plants to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to the hospitals and health facilities.

"He said that the likely cyclone-affected areas in Gujarat consist of industrial clusters, so their safety must be ensured and industry should also remain alert," the statement said.

The home minister informed the chief ministers and the administrators that a 24x7 control room is functioning in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which "can be contacted at any time for any assistance by the states".

He said coast guard, navy, army and air force units have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial sorties.

Senior officers were directed to take "every possible measure to ensure that people are safely evacuated and all essential services maintained, including health and oxygen facilities, power, telecommunications, drinking water etc. and that these are restored immediately in the event of any damage caused to them".

The home minister also assured the states of all cooperation from the central government and its agencies.

"He said that maximum resources, government and private both, should be utilised to tackle the situation.

"The home minister directed the district collectors to coordinate with the private industries and ensure that their disaster management wings are totally geared up," the statement said.

The cabinet secretary, secretaries of central ministries like home, health, power, department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), the NDMA member secretary, the directors general of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the chief secretaries of the two states, the advisors to the administrators of the two Union territories, the disaster management secretaries and the collectors of the districts concerned in Gujarat and Maharashtra participated in the meeting.

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