NDRF gearing up to deal with dual challenge of cyclone, Covid-19


New Delhi, May 18 : The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Monday said that as many as 53 teams are deployed, including those on standby, in West Bengal and Odisha to deal with the "dual challenge" of both impending super cyclone 'Amphan' and Covid-19. Addressing a press briefing, NDRF Director General Satya Narayan Pradhan said: "In West Bengal, a total of 19 teams are deployed, and four teams are on standby. In Odisha, 13 are deployed and 17 are on standby. While some NDRF teams are in the area, some are in transit and will reach by today or tomorrow morning." He said that the teams are on their feet and carrying out awareness drives and evacuation in the area which are slated to be affected by the cyclone. Sanitisers and preventive medicine have also been given to the forces as the country will face a "dual challenge" with the ongoing pandemic and the cyclone. "We will not take this lightly as it is the second time after 1999 that Indian is witnessing a super cyclone. Lives of people are in danger and the preparations are being done in accordance with that," Pradhan added. Besides this, six battalions of NDRF are also kept on standby and will be brought to the two states by IAF's C-130 transport aircraft, if and when required. The super cyclone is currently moving northwards with a speed of seven km per hour during past six hours and lay centred at about 730 km nearly south of Odisha's Paradip, 890 km south-southwest of West Bengal's Digha and 1,010 km south-southwest of Bangladesh's Khepupara. It is expected to cross between Digha island in West Bengal and Hatiya island in Bangladesh close to Sundarbans on May 20. The weather agency has issued an orange alert for coastal West Bengal and Odisha, where it said widespread damage is expected. /IANS


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