Eastern Naval Command prepared for cyclone ‘Vardah’

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) The Eastern Naval Command (ENC) is all geared up to carry out relief operations, as cyclone ‘Vardah’ is likely to make landfall near Chennai on Monday, the Indian Navy said on Sunday.

Cyclone Vardah’s severe cycle is around 450 km east-north-east of Chennai and is likely to make landfall north of Chennai in the afternoon or evening of December 12.

“In preparation for the relief efforts of very severe cyclone Vardah, the Eastern Naval Command has assumed high degree of readiness to render necessary assistance,” said an Indian Navy statement here.

“All operational ships have been readied and kept on standby to undertake humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations, including evacuation, should the situation demand,” the Indian Navy said.

The ships are embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines and blankets, among other things, in quantities sufficient to sustain over 5,000 people.

“Additionally, 30 diving teams with Gemini boats and four platoons with additional relief material are ready to be pressed into action at a short notice,” the navy said.

The Eastern Naval Command is closely monitoring the developments and the Flag Officer – Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Naval Area is in constant communication with the sate administration to augment rescue and relief operations.

Naval aircraft are also standing by at the naval air stations at Rajali and Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded.

On Friday, the forces evacuated over 2,300 tourists, including a dozen foreigners, by air and sea from Andaman & Nicobar islands, which was hit by the cyclone.

Authorities on Sunday sounded an alert in Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Tamil Nadu as cyclonic storm Vardah over the Bay of Bengal has turned into a “very severe” one.

The storm is likely to cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast by Monday afternoon, said Indian Meteorological Department on Sunday.

According to the meteorological department, Vardah over west central and adjoining south Bay of Bengal moved further westwards and lay centred at 5.30 am over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal, about 520 km east-southeast of Nellore, 490 km east-southeast of Machilipatnam and 480 km east-northeast of Chennai.

–IANS

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