Armed forces in Odisha brace for approaching cyclone

New Delhi


As Cyclone Phailin approaches Odisha, Defence Minister A.K. Antony has asked the armed forces to be prepared.

Two IL-76 aircraft have airlifted National Disaster Response Force teams and equipment to Bhubneshwar, official sources said.

Air force assets have been kept on stand-by at various bases, including Raipur, Nagpur, Jagdalpur, Barrackpore, Ranchi and Gwalior.

The aircraft kept on stand-by include two C130Js, 18 helicopters, and two AN-32 aircraft, which can move at short notice.

Eastern Air Command has been asked to coordinate relief operations with the task force positioned at Barrackpore.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Thursday sought the help of the defence forces to meet the impending situation.

The severe cyclonic storm Phailin over the Bay of Bengal gained strength, and intensified further as it moved towards Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coast, officials of the India Meteorological Department said Friday.

It would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by Saturday evening.

A very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 205-215 kmph is expected. - IANS