Natural Disasters

Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara prepare for Cyclone Bulbul

Expect landfall in two Odisha districts on November 8-9

By Ashis Senapati
Published: Tuesday 05 November 2019
Fishing vessels moored in Paradip port, Jagatsinghpur. Photo: Ashis Senapati

Both government officials and people in the coastal Odisha districts of Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur have started preparing for Cyclone Bulbul after an alert was sounded on November 4.

The low-pressure area has been moving west-northwest and will intensify into a depression over east-central Bay of Bengal. It can make landfall at the Odisha coast between November 8 and 9, HR Biswas, director of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Bhubaneswar, said.  

He added that cyclones usually head towards West Bengal and Bangladesh in October, while turning to Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in November. Bulbul will be the second cyclone to hit Odisha this year after Fani in May, Biswas said.

Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts were regularly hit by major cyclones and so everyone was taking the alert about Bulbul extremely seriously, Sambeet Satapathy, the district emergency officer of Kendrapara, said.

The government had also warned people against visiting the seaside to avoid any dangerous occurrence, he added.

Over 600 cyclone shelters have been readied at seaside villages of both districts to accommodate evacuees. The authorities have also warned fishermen not to venture into the sea for fishing.  

Kendrapara’s culture of preparedness for cyclones was largely born out of the devastating 1971 cyclone that claimed an estimated 5,000 lives in the district’s Rajnagar and Mahakalapada blocks, said Biraja Pati, a social worker of Kendrapara.

He added that in 1999, when the Super Cyclone struck Odisha, thousands were evacuated from the disaster zone, saving countless lives. The death toll was limited at 386 in Kendrapara. On the other hand, more than 10,000 people perished in Jagatsinghpur’s Earasama and Kujang.

Large number of residents from the villages of Sandhakuda, Noliashi, Goda, Japa, Dahibar, Ambiki and other villages in Jagatsinghpur district have begun leaving for safety. These villages had borne the maximum burnt of the super cyclone on October 29, 1999.

Since the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority, along with the district administration and other agencies had regularised mock drills for cyclones, tsunamis and floods among residents, it was now easy for evacuations to be done quickly, Kanhu Charan Dhir, the additional district magistrate of Jagatsinghpur, said.

Two years ago, the government had built 23 Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) towers at the seaside villages of Kendrapara district to provide cyclone and tsunami warnings to the residents, Satapathy said. 

All the towers have been fitted with sirens that would go off simultaneously. The sound emanating from the towers will be heard in localities up to a radius of 1.5 km. 

The authorities had also built 23 EWDs towers in the Earasama, Kujang and Balkuda blocks of Jagatsinghpur district, added the officer. 

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