Cyclone Amphan Causes Disruption, Damages Houses in West Bengal
Indian Coast Guard ships, aircraft are ready to undertake area scan, search and rescue efforts.
Amphan, the second super cyclone to form over the Bay of Bengal since 1999, made landfall in West Bengal at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, 20 May.
In a joint press conference with the health ministry and India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief said more than 5 lakh people have been evacuated in West Bengal and 1,58,640 people in Odisha.
The cyclone weakened from super cyclone to "extremely severe cyclonic storm" as it approached the land. As a result, Odisha and West Bengal both are experiencing heavy rains and high-velocity winds.
From both the states, reports of power cuts, trees uprooting and destruction of property emerged.
As of Wednesday, at least 2 people had lost their lives due to Amphan and over 5,500 houses had been damaged.
“All operations suspended at Kolkata Airport till 5 am tomorrow in view of cyclone Amphan including special flights, which were operational in view of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Airport Director of West Bengal, reported ANI.
Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft are kept at stand by for deployment to undertake area scan, search and rescue and relief efforts.
“I request Railways not to bring back migrant workers to West Bengal on Wednesday and Thursday morning as precautionary measure," chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday.
Seven districts of Bengal are likely to face the direct impact of the cyclone. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has described the vulnerable areas as “red plus zones,” and has said she would stay overnight in the control room tonight.
‘Most Intense Cyclone Since 1999’
IMD had also predicted extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards along with blowing down of palm and coconut trees.
“This is the most intense cyclone - the second super cyclone - which has been formed in Bay of Bengal after 1999. Its wind speed in the sea right now is 200-240 kmph. It is moving towards north northwestward direction.”Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, IMD Chief
Apart from the readiness of NDRF and defence forces, power and telecommunications departments have been directed to be ready with emergency response.
Early on Tuesday, Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik on the matter, reported PTI quoting officials. “He has assured to help deal with the situation arising due to cyclone Amphan,” they said.
According to Odisha's state officials, on directions of CM Naveen Patnaik, four senior officers with vast experience in handling calamities have been deputed to different Odisha districts.
Severity of 'Amphan'
Addressing the media, IMD had also informed about the cyclone's impact on monsoon.
"We are expecting a slight delay in the arrival of monsoon in Kerala due to tropical cyclone. Monsoon is expected to hit Kerala coast by 5 June," IMD said.
"SMS alerts are being generated to people in affected districts, for evacuation. It is up to state governments that in what frequency they want to send alerts," Telecom Secretary said in the same press conference.
PM, HM Took Stock of Situation on Monday
Hours after the IMD announced the severity of Cyclone Amphan on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) & National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials to review the situation arising out of it in different parts of the country.
Home Minister Amit Shah was also part of the meeting. After the meeting, the PM assured support from the central government and said, "I pray for everyone's safety."
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had on Sunday issued a cyclone alert for West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts after Cyclone Amphan intensified over the Bay of Bengal.
‘Suspend All Fishing Activity in WB, Odisha’: IMD
IMD on Tuesday issued a warning to suspend all fishing activity in West Bengal and Odisha till 20 May, ANI reported.
The IMD issued a rainfall warning for the next four days. Fishermen were advised not to venture into south Bay of Bengal during the next 24 hours, into central Bay of Bengal during 17-18 May and into north Bay of Bengal during 18-20 May 2020, ANI had reported.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)
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