With a red alert being sounded for cyclone "Fani" in many parts of the country, including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, several helpline numbers and an exclusive mobile app have been launched in a bid to help victims during disaster and connect survivors with relief teams in real time. Designed by researchers of the Amrita Centre for Wireless Networks and Applications (AmritaWNA), the mobile app namely AmritaKripa uses real-time GPS data to show the location of the nearest rescue-and-relief providers. It will serve various needs of users, including victims, disaster survivors, relief providers, relief-camp coordinators, rescue teams and administrators.
Speaking to media, Dr Maneesha Sudheer, director of AmritaWNA, said, "Often people who need help are not able to reach the helpline numbers due to the limited number of parallel calls that these lines can handle. This negatively impacts rescue missions, and precious lives are lost".
"The worldwide app directly links the help-seekers and providers in a post-disaster environment using smartphones and the Internet, where the location data is picked up automatically using real-time GPS data. In disaster situations, pinpointing locations of survivors is the key".
In order to avail the facility, users need to register on the app which will enable them to request any services like rescue, medical help, supplies and also allows people to provide rescue, supplies and so on during cyclone "Fani".
AmritaKripa, used for effective rescue-and-relief management during natural disasters like cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis, is currently available on Google Play Store. In a related note, the app also served over 12,000 stranded people during the devastating Kerala floods in 2018.
The helpline numbers of the HQ, KUR and WAT Division for Cyclone FANI:
INMARSAT Bhubaneswar: 08991112802
INMARSAT Bhubaneswar: 08991112803
BSNL Number: 0674-2303060/0674-2301525/0674-2301625
Railway Number: 085-50525/085-50625/085-50725 ; Intercom - 268/378 ; CISCO IP Phone - 0462219999
Passenger Helpline KUR: 138
BSNL - 0674-2492374
Railway - 085-72818, 085-72819, 085-72820
Intercom - 778; INMARSAT - 08991112804
Security Control: 182
Disaster Number: 1072
Passenger Helpline Waltair:
BSNL - 0891-2746255
Railway - 085-82088, 085-82089, 085-82329, 085-82265, 085-83096, 085-83082
Intercom - 866
INMARSAT - 08991112806
Security Control: 182
Disaster Number: 1072
Details of Inmarsat Numbers of East Coast Railway for Cyclone FANI:
Test Room/Khurda Road: 08991112804
Brahmapur (from BZA): 08991112748
Palasa (from KRPU): 08991112807
Paradeep (from KBJ): 08991112808
Puri (from SBP): 08991112809
What is cyclone Fani?
"Extremely severe" cyclonic storm "Fani", which is approaching India's eastern coast, is likely to hit several parts of the country on Friday, officials said.
Around 900 cyclone shelters have been made ready to house evacuees while troops of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and 78 teams of the National Disaster response Force (NDRF) have been requisitioned for deployment. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country's top body to handle an emergency situation, on Wednesday reviewed the preparedness for "Fani".
The IMD conveyed to the NCMC that the storm may surge about 1.5 metres in height and may inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha at the time of landfall.
The Navy and the Coast Guard have deployed ships and helicopters for relief-and-rescue operations while the Army and Air Force units in the three states have also been put on standby. The NDRF has deployed 12 teams in Andhra Pradesh, 28 in Odisha and six teams in West Bengal. Additionally, 32 teams are kept on standby. The teams are equipped with boats, tree cutters, telecom equipment etc. One NDRF team consists of 45 personnel.
The state governments have issued advisories and are ensuring that fishermen do not venture into the sea. The IMD has been issuing bulletins every three hours with the latest forecast to all the states concerned. The home ministry is also in continuous touch with the state governments and the central agencies concerned.
Senior officers from the ministries of home, shipping, civil aviation, railways, fisheries, power, telecommunications, defence, drinking water and sanitation, food processing, health, besides those of the IMD, NDMA and NDRF also attended the meeting.