The Odisha government has asked collectors of 18 districts to be prepared considering the possibility of a cyclonic storm in the state amid a possibility of a cyclone formation over the South Andaman Sea and its neighbouring areas.

Speaking to news organisation ANI, Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said, “As intimated by IMD, a cyclonic circulation has developed around the South Andaman Sea and its neighbouring areas. It is likely to be converted into a low-pressure area. It will be easier to predict its intensity once it gets developed.”

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He further stated that collectors of 18 districts of Odisha from Malkangiri to Mayurbhanj have been asked to stay alert as a precautionary measure.

“Due to a possible cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, 17 NDRF, 20 ODRAF and 175 teams of Fire Services dept are ready to tackle the situation if necessary,” Jena added.

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This came after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed the Odisha government that a low-pressure area is likely to form over South Andaman Sea and its neighbourhood by Friday under the influence of cyclonic circulation.

The system is likely to intensify into a depression in the next 48 hours and move in the north-westward direction, it had warned. The IMD also indicated that conditions are favourable for the formation of a storm next week.

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Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner also asked the district collectors to identify the vulnerable people and shift them to safe shelters, and prepare a detailed evacuation plan for those living in kutcha houses, near the coast, or in low-lying areas.

The elderly, the disabled, women, and children should be sent to designated geo-tagged shelter buildings.

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All safe shelter buildings, permanent or temporary, should be geo-tagged and a team comprising three local officials – two male and one woman such as ASHA workers, lady teachers, lady constables and home guards should be put in charge of each of them, he instructed.