Govt ready with choppers, aircraft, ships for cyclone rescue

Govt ready with choppers, aircraft, ships for cyclone rescue

Eighteen helicopters, 12 aircraft and two war ships have been kept ready by the government for rescue and relief operations in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh which are facing the brunt of cyclone 'Phailin'.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Indian Air Force choppers and aircraft and the two navy ships are placed in close proximity of the eastern coastline and would be deployed for rescue and relief operations.

"The cyclone has left Andaman Nicobar Islands and will hit Odisha any time now. Three districts of Andhra Pradesh and 8 districts in Odisha are likely to be affected," he told reporters here.

Shinde said 5.5 lakh people in Odisha and 1 lakh people in Andhra Pradesh were evacuated in safer places, mostly in 500 cyclone shelters.

"Some people have showed resistance (against evacuation). Forces have been alerting them. Police have been trying to evacuate them," he said.

The Home Minister said Army has sent more than 2,000 personnel to deployed in relief and rescue operations.

Shinde said all Central Ministries were working in close tandem and offering all help to the two state governments for relief and rescue operations.

"Union Home Secretary is in regular touch with state Chief Secretaries and monitoring the situation," he said.

The Home Minister said 500 cyclone shelters were built after the 1999 super cyclone where arrangements have been made for food and other essential commodities.

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