New Delhi [India], May 19 (ANI): A total of 41 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in both Odisha and West Bengal including 7 reserves teams in the view of cyclone Amphan, said agency chief SN Pradhan on Tuesday adding that the NDRF is facing the "dual" challenge of COVID-19 and a cyclone.
'NDRF headquarters and other agencies are doing the monitoring. 15 teams are deployed in Odisha. They are carrying out awareness drives, communication drives, and evacuation. 19 teams are deployed in West Bengal, 2 are in standby there. A total of 41 teams have been deployed in both states including 7 reserves teams," Pradhan said in a press briefing here.
"We have learnt some lesson from the experience of Fani. Tree cutters, pole cutters etc have been kept. Perhaps this is happening for the first time that we are facing a dual challenge right now - COVID-19 and a cyclone," he said.
Pradhan said that all teams have wireless and satellite communications to remain in contact with NDRF headquarters. "They can also set up communication for local agencies," he added.
He said that six NDRF Battalions have been identified which can be airlifted on short notice to the affected places.
"In Odisha, 15 teams have been deployed and five are in reserve. Teams have been deployed in seven districts. Four teams are deployed in Balasore, three in Kendrapara and three in Bhadrak. There is a possibility that these three districts will be affected," the NDRF chief said.
"We have kept an additional backup. 6 NDRF Battalions have been identified- 11 in Varanasi, 9 in Patna, 1 in Guwahati, 10 in Vijayawada, 4 in Arakkonam and 5 battalions in Pune. They have military airports and troops can be brought from here on short notice," he said.
Pradhan said that the NDRF teams are spreading awareness about both the cyclone and COVID-19. And, evacuation work has also started.
He informed that the Cabinet Secretary held a meeting of National Crisis Management today.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), super Cyclonic Storm Amphan over Westcentral Bay of Bengal moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 17 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centred at 1130 hrs IST of May 19 as an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm over Westcentral Bay of Bengal.
IMD said that the cyclone is very likely to move north-northeastwards across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal - Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) close to Sundarbans during afternoon to evening hours of May 20. (ANI)