Orissa prepares for cyclone Fani. 800,000 people have been evacuated
The authorities close the ports and suspend railway connections. The weather alert also covers Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in India; and the Cox’s Bazar district, where the Rohingya refugees are located in Bangladesh. In 1999, Cyclone Odisha caused more than 8,000 victims.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of people are fleeing the coastal area of Orissa, where cyclone Fani is expected to arrive tomorrow with its winds at 200 km per hour. The authorities have launched one of the most impressive mass evacuations in the history of India, about 800 thousand people. The goal is to prevent the tragedy that occurred in 1999, when hurricane Odisha (from the name of the state) killed more than 8 thousand people.
The Indian authorities have arranged 850 camps where about one million inhabitants can find refuge. The Coast Guard, the Navy and the National Disaster Response Force are ready to bring relief, while fishermen have been banned from venturing into the sea.
For transport, 81 railway connections were canceled. In addition, the government has relaxed restrictions on coastal districts, in force for the period of elections taking place throughout the month of May in the country. The State of Orissa, with 46 million inhabitants, has already voted in the previous phases. In this way, if necessary, public officials can participate in relief operations.
Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are also in a state of alert for rains. At the moment the tropical storm is in the Bay of Bengal and is moving north-west towards India; on Saturday 4 May it will touch the city of Chittagong, on the southern coast of Bangladesh, where about 700 thousand Rohingya refugees are amassed.
Here, since February, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has begun distributing tarpaulins to protect themselves from the heavy rains that fall in the cyclone season. However with the winds at that speed, the NGO feels that the tarpaulin tents will offer little protection.
The Orissa administration has also asked tourists to leave the holy city of Puri and reschedule non-essential trips. In Puri there is the Sree Jagannath, one of the sacred temples for Hindus, a destination of millions of pilgrims and tourists every year.