Bhubaneswar: Odisha government is bracing up to evacuate 8 lakh people to safety keeping in view of the severe cyclonic storm Fani which is expected to hit the state by Friday evening. The chief minister Naveen Patnaik has geared up the government machinery to meet the challenges araised out of the storm.

Patnaik, chairing a high-level review meeting, here on Wednesday night, directed that the vulnerable people be evacuated by Thursday. He also said that provisions should be make to provide cooked food to the people sheltered in cyclone shelter home, school buildings and other government buildings.

Asking the secretaries of concerned departments and the district collectors to remain alert, he said that care must be taken for protection and immediate restoration of drinking water supply system, electricity supply, and road connectivity.

Meanwhile, the government has deputed 12 senior IAS officers to supervise advance preparation and relief and rescue operations. Besides government’s trusted disaster crisis managers like Suresh Moahapatra, Sudarshan Pal Thakur, PK Jena, Sanjiv Chopra and Saswat Mishra, the government has deputed efficient officers like Krishan Kumar, Sangramjit Nayak, Anil Kumar Samal, Monisha Banerjee, Prem Chandra Choudhry, Md.Abdul Akhtar to remain in charge of various coastal districts which are vulnerable to the cyclone Fani. The districts that are going to be affected are Ganjam, Puri, Khorda, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Gajapati, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar.

The state government is preparing 879 cyclone shelters for the relocation of the evacuated people. Over 1 lakh food packets have been prepared for air-dropping. The government has deployed 17 ODRAF and 25 NDRF teams in various districts. The government has also requested the Centre for 2 defence helicopters to be used for relief and rescue operations.