Meghalaya braces for Cyclone Fani

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Shillong, May 3: The Meghalaya government has sought deployment of a platoon of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the state in view of Cyclone Fani, officials said Friday.
The extremely severe cyclonic storm made landfall in Odisha on Friday morning. It is gradually heading towards West Bengal and from there it is likely to move towards the north-east, the officials said.
One NDRF platoon, comprising 25 to 30 personnel, has been sought from Guwahati, Meghalaya Revenue and Disaster Minister Kyrmen Shylla said.
The IMD has warned of thundersquall accompanied with gusty winds and heavy rains for the next 48 hours across the northeastern states, including Meghalaya.
“We have requested the NDRF to deploy at least one platoon at the state capital. The NDRF personnel would assist the state in case of any emergency,” Shylla told PTI.
The officials of all the 11 districts have been asked to be on alert, the minister said, adding, all officers, including those posted in various blocks, have been asked not to leave their places of posting, the minister said.
The State Disaster Relief Force and the Fire Services have been kept on standby, the minister added.
The district disaster management authorities have asked all residents to take precautions, he said.
“People are required to take extra care to avoid any incidences and ensure safe keeping of all objects such as lumber piles, loose tin sheets, bricks, garbage bins and signboards which could be blown away by strong winds,” an advisory issued by the Disaster Management Authority of East Khasi Hills district said here.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been kept on standby in view of the storm.
“Six light helicopters for rescue operations and five medium-lift helicopters for transporting relief materials are ready in case of any emergency,” a spokesperson at the EAC headquarters said here.
“In addition, four AN 32 aircraft have been kept ready, with medical teams, for ferrying relief material, medical help, NDRF teams and equipment,” the spokesperson said.
The IAF spokesperson said that the helicopters have been kept ready at Bagdogra and Purnea for quick deployment in Odisha and West Bengal.
The medium-lift helicopters have been kept on standby at Kumbhigram airport in Silchar. They would be used if the cyclone affects the states of Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland, the spokesperson said.
In addition at Silchar, Kumbhigram medium lift helicopters have been kept on standby for the phase when the storm would start to effect the states of Tripura Mizoram Manipur and Nagaland, he said.
The operation centre would be established either in Odisha or in West Bengal depending on the situation as it unfolds, he said. (PTI)