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Orissa evacuates 4,000 people due to cyclone Laila

Bhubaneswar, May 20 (Calcutta Tube) Orissa Thursday evacuated nearly 4,000 people from three seaside villages and moved them to safer places amid fears of high tidal waves due to the severe cyclonic storm Laila formed over the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The residents were moved from the villages located near the Bay of Bengal at Gopalpur in the southern district of Ganjam, some 170 km from here – which officials fear could be worst hit by the sea surges.

‘We have moved about 4,000 people from Ramiya Patna, Podampeta and another fishing village to nearby cyclone shelters,’ District Collector V.K.Pandian told IANS.

Hundreds of relief and rescue personnel also held drills in several places in Ganjam district as a part of their preparedness to fight the disaster, Special Relief Commissioner Nikunja Sundaray told IANS.

The state government has alerted all district administrations although the main impact of the cyclonic storm is likely on the coastal districts.

‘The impact may be on coastal districts,’ Sundaray said, adding that a few districts such as Gajapati and Ganjam may witness flash floods. Besides, the Chilika lagoon might see storm surges.

The Chilika lake, some 100 km from here, is spread across Puri, Khurdha and Ganjam districts along the east coast.

‘Overall about 30,000-40,000 people in the state, mostly in coastal districts, may get affected. All of them have been alerted. We are closely monitoring the situation and, if necessary, we will evacuate more and move them to cyclone shelters,’ Sundaray said.

He said that the state government has already deployed relief and rescue teams in all the vulnerable areas.

The meteorological centre here said the severe cyclonic storm formed over the Bay of Bengal crossed the Andhra Pradesh coast near Bapatla in Guntur district Thursday afternoon.

It is likely to weaken gradually and move initially in a northerly direction and then recurve in northeasterly direction towards Orissa.

Heavy to very heavy rain is likely to occur at a few places over southern and northern parts of Orissa during next 48 hours, it said.

‘We have issued advisory to the fishermen asking them not to venture into the sea as the condition of the sea will remain rough to very rough,’ a senior official of the centre said.

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