The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has enhanced its strength to a total of 37 teams, with the addition of 20 more, to combat the “dual challenge” of cyclone Amphan amid the coronavirus pandemic, the chief of the federal contingency force said on Monday (May 18).
S.N. Pradhan, NDRF Director General, said the force is fully geared with all the equipment and paraphernalia to face the “developing situation which the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said will turn into a very severe cyclonic storm by this evening and continue to be so for sometime”.
“A total of 37 teams have been deployed by NDRF in West Bengal and Odisha, out of which 20 teams are actively deployed and 17 are on standby in the two states,” Pradhan said in a video message.
On Sunday, the force had earmarked 17 teams for the task.
A single NDRF team has a strength of about 45 personnel.
In Odisha, the deployment of the force is in seven districts and in West Bengal in six districts, the DG said.
Related news: PM Modi to chair meeting on cyclone Amphan
“It (cyclone Amphan) is a dual challenge as cyclone is striking in time of COVID-19 and (hence) we are facing a double challenge so to say,” Pradhan said.
“The awareness drive being undertaken by NDRF teams in these areas is accordingly tailored to inform the locals about the cyclone and also the coronavirus,” he said.
“We are coordinating with local administrations for active evacuation from possible affected areas,” he said.
Amphan, pronounced as (UM-PUN), is likely to have a wind speed on up to 185 km per hour Wednesday, the Home Ministry has said in its latest update.
In an advisory to West Bengal and Odisha governments, the ministry has said Amphan was spotted on Monday morning over the central parts of South Bay of Bengal and the adjoining central Bay of Bengal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a high-level meeting Monday afternoon to review the situation arising out of the cyclone.