Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Cyclone LEHER Updates 24-26 Nov. 2013

The first bulletin in this regard (pre-cyclone watch) was received at 2119 hrs (1ST) on 23rd Nov, 2013. The cyclone is likely to cross ANI between Hutbay and Long Island, close to Port Blair and therefore its impact is expected to be confined to two districts namely North and Middle Andaman (N&MA) and South Andaman (SA). On receipt of the bulletin, Deputy Commissioners (DCs) concerned, DGP (I/C) and Emergency Operation Centres at Port Blair, Mayabunder and Hutbay were informed. Information was also sent to all Emergency Support Functionaries and authorities concerned such as Fisheries, Directorate of Shipping Services, Port Management Board, APWD, Electricity and PBMC.

On receipt of subsequent bulletins confirming the passage of cyclonic storm, the following steps have been taken to ensure information dissemination to the agencies concerned and public:

• All Secretaries concerned/HODs/Emergency Support Functionaries have been intimated both through SMS and phone calls. Key functionaries have been sent copies of IMD Bulletins.

• DC (SA) and DC (N&MA) have activated their SOPs and ESFs.

• The Police Department has also been informed to keep NDRF on alert. NDRF has also been informed by NDMA in this regard.

• The public has been informed regarding the cyclone by SMS through all service providers namely BSNL, Airtel, Reliance and Vodafone.

• All India Radio and ACN cable network are broadcasting information regarding the cyclone alert. Information and Publicity Department has issued information in this regard to all News Papers and Channel 24.

• AIR has been requested to continue its service beyond 1100 pm (when its service closes) to 5:30 am to allow dissemination of bulletins to public.

• Dos and Don’ts during cyclones were downloaded from NDMA Website and have been disseminated by Information and Publicity Department both through AIR and Cable Network and also at movie screening Ambedkar Auditorium.

• Areas prone to storm surge and inundation have been specifically identified by the DCs for information dissemination/evacuation as advised by IMD.

• DCs have informed elected representatives such as PRIs and PBMC and are taking their assistance for information dissemination to public and for moving public from coastal hutments to safer areas etc. All elected representatives concerned including the Member of Parliament have been informed by State Control Room through SMS. Community Task Forces have also been activated by the DCs.

• Queries/calls from public arc being attended to by the Control Room/EOCs.

• All modes of communication including SAT phones, INCOIS VSAT based VoIP telephony and Video Conferencing through DCN network have been activated.

• DC SA is also regularly updating his disaster management Facebook page. Some like Andaman Chronicle are also providing required information to public through Facebook/website.

• Mobile Public Address systems are also being used by joint revenue and police teams to alert the public regarding the cyclone and to persuade coastal hutment dwellers to move to relief shelters.

• Identified relief shelters and relief godowns have been activated.

• Shipping and Fishing operations have been suspended.

• Secretary Fisheries has given his detailed report regarding information dissemination done amongst fishermen and some fishermen from Guptapara, Hutbay, Yerratta and Dashrathpur are at sea from before and have not as yet returned. He has informed the Coast Guard in this regard. Telephonically IG Coast Guard has also been requested for possible assistance.

• Secretaries/HODs concerned have also been advised to keep tree removal squads (APWD, Forest and Police/Fire Services) and power restoration squads (Electricity) ready.

• Civil Supplies department has been activated and kept ready for food supplies requirement.

• Local IMD is in constant touch with the Administration.

• As advised by IMD, over 3600 persons in coastal hutments in 7 Islands of North and Middle Andaman and South Andaman Districts had been moved to safer places.

• The cyclone gained maximum intensity around 6 am and lasted till around 7:45 am. However, IMD has predicted wind speed of 65-75 kmph gusting to 90 kmph for next 12 hours and that extremely heavy rainfall (25cm or more) will continue for next 24 hours.

• The impact was felt more strongly in South Andaman than Middle Andaman with Port Blair being hit the most.

• Widespread uprooting of trees and falling branches has caused extensive damages to houses and road blockages. Some places where falling trees have been reported are Haddo, VIP road, near Secretariat building, ANIIDCO road, Megapode road, Raj Niwas gate, Junglighat, Shadipur, Bambooflat, Chunabhatta, Gandhi Park road, Ferrarganj, Sippighat etc. Widespread damage to houses reported from Haddo, Junglighat, Dean Street, South point, Chakargoan, Wandoor, Lambaline etc Joint PWD, Forest and Fire services squads have been on the job. NDRF team here has also been deployed.

• Land slide has been reported in Dignabad, South Point, and Port Blair.

• Traffic on Andaman Truck Road has been suspended.

• Widespread power failure has occurred in South Andaman. Power disruption in Middle Andaman.

• Telecommunication services have been affected in both districts, however phone lines and cell phones are working in some pockets.

• Water logging has been reported in certain low lying areas such as School line, Mohanpura, Garacharma, Sippighat, Chouldari, Stewartganj, Carbyn quarry and near LightHouse junction in South Andaman. Rescue operation with Gemini boat done in Sunder Colony near Megapode Hotel (Port Blair) where 58 persons were rescued from submerged houses. Rescue operation were also done at Betapur (2 persons) and Kanyapuram (14 persons) in North & Middle Andaman. Water logging in some places has caused road blockages as well. After the high tide at night receded, water in some places went down.

• IG Coast Guard and ANC have been requested to help locate the fishermen who had left prior to November 24th 2013 but not returned. 16 boats at Guptapara with 3 fishers each, one boats each at Yerrata and Dasratpur yet to return. At Hutbay, 4 boats yet to return.

• State Transport Services both Local and inter-state have been suspended till roads are cleared.

• Shipping and inter-island air services have been suspended. Mainland- island flights have been cancelled.

• Danger Signal 7 has been hoisted in port.

• No casualty reported as yet.

• All India Radio disseminated bulletins all through. Private Cable and channel networks were also used. However, Doordarshan was not operational.