Natural Disasters

Cyclone Sitrang: 7 Odisha districts on alert, evacuation efforts intensified

The cyclone is expected to make landfall on Odisha coast October 23-24

By Ashis Senapati
Published: Wednesday 19 October 2022
A seaside guesthouse at Siali village in Jagatsinghpur. Photo: Ashis Senapati

The Odisha government has ramped up preparation for evacuation and emergency services in the state’s coastal districts in the face of Cyclone Sitrang that is expected to make landfall on the Odisha coast October 23-23, 2022.

Coastal districts Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Balasore, Bhadrak, Khordha and Ganjam have been put on alert by the state government on October 19.

The Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire service personnel are on standby, said Gyana Das, executive-director of the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA).

Cyclone shelters in the seaside villages are being readied to accommodate evacuees, he added. “We have instructed the collectors of these districts to evacuate residents of seaside villages and take them to safer places before October 22," Das added. 

Marine fishermen have also been alerted about the brewing cyclone and urged not to venture into the sea, said Nayan Haldar, president of Odisha Traditional Fish Workers' Association.

"We advised  marine fishermen to tie up their vessels at the fishing harbours and jetties," said Pabitra Behera, joint-director of the state fisheries (coastal) department. 

The government has also issued a warning discouraging travellers from visiting these areas, Das added. “The authorities are prepared with heavy machinery to deal with any emergency situation.

A cyclonic circulation formed over the Andaman Sea which may induce a low-pressure area over Bay of Bengal on October 20, the India Meteorological Department had said earlier. This may intensify into a cyclone in the following couple of days. 

The authorities requested villagers living along the coast to not panic but a large number of the frightened residents are prepared to shift to safe shelters, the official noted. 

Residents of Sandhakuda, Noliashi, Goda, Japa, Dahibar, Ambiki and other villages in Jagatsinghpur district have already started leaving for safer shelters. These villages bore the maximum brunt of the 1999 super cyclone.

Kanhu Charan Dhir, additional district magistrate of Paradip, said: 

Sitrang could be life threatening for the seaside villagers for which we have  urged them to leave for safer  places. While it is too early to predict the impact of the cyclone, there are fears that it could threaten thousands of people in coastal Odisha.

Immediately after the cyclone warning, many residents resorted to panic buying of essential commodities — mostly rice, flattened rice, dry food, vegetables and kerosene. 

Odisha has faced 10 major cyclones since 1999 and October is the cyclone season for the eastern state. 

On October 29, 1999, around 10,000 people of the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara perished in a super cyclone. The coast was also battered by Cyclone Phailin on October 11, 2013.

Cyclone Hudhud hit the southern coast of Odisha on October 12, 2014. On October 11, 2018, cyclonic storm Titli made landfall in the southwest coast of Gopalpur near Palasa in Andhra Pradesh. 

The extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani struck Puri on the Odisha coast May 3, 2019, with a wind speed of around 175 kilometres per hour.

Cyclone Bulbul ravaged West Bengal and bordering areas of Odisha on November 10, 2019. Cyclone Amphan barrelled along the Odisha coast before making landfall near the Sunderbans in West Bengal on May 21, 2020. 

Cyclone Yaas made landfall on May 26, 2021 in Odisha at Dhamra and south of Haldia in West Bengal.  Cyclone Gulab hit southern parts of Odisha on September 26, 2021.

On December 4, 2021, the coastal districts of Odisha received heavy rainfall as the remnants of Cyclone Jawad reached Puri coast before taking a re-curve in north-northeast direction and reaching the port town Paradip of Jagatsinghpur district.

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