Cyclone Bulbul Claims Lives of 10 Bengal, 8 in Bangladesh
Cyclone Bulbul made landfall in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district on Saturday.
Cyclone 'Bulbul', which barrelled through the coastal districts of West Bengal before hurtling towards Bangladesh, claimed at least 10 lives and affected at least 2.73 lakh families in different parts of the state, official reports said on Sunday.
In Bangladesh, at least eight people were killed and 15 others injured.
An employee of a renowned club in the city was killed when a branch of a cedar tree fell on him, police said.
In Basirhat, North 24 Parganas, three persons died in separate incidents.
According to a senior police officer, Suchitra Mandal (70) died at Purba Makala village in the district when a tree fell on her.
Similarly, at Gokhna village, several tress were uprooted, one of which claimed the life of Reba Biswas (47). Manirul Gazi (59) was the third casualty in the district. He was electrocuted after coming in contact with a lamp post, the officer added.
According to GC Das from the Alipore Meteorological Department, the cyclonic storm now lies over coastal areas of Bangladesh, away from Bengal, reported news agency ANI.
“In next 12 hours, this tropical cyclone will become depression&lose intensity. There is only wind warning now. Fishermen are advised to not go out.”GC Das, Alipore Meteorological Dept
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee separately on Sunday and assured her of all help from the central government in rescue and relief operations in areas affected by cyclone Bulbul.
Trees Uprooted, Hoardings Damaged
Torrential rain lashed the metropolis throughout Saturday, forcing people to remain indoors.
Gale wind with gusts up to 135 kmph prevailed over the coastal districts of South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore and its adjoining areas in North 24 Parganas as the cyclone made landfall around midnight on Saturday.
Hundreds of uprooted trees blocked roads in parts of the city, even as people braved the weather and came out of their homes on Sunday.
The NDRF, along with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), police and fire personnel, is working on a war footing to clear road blockades caused by fallen trees and branches.
"We have already engaged workers to clear the roads and pump out water from low-lying areas. We are hopeful our work will be over by tonight," said a KMC official.
State Disaster Management minister Javed Khan said all emergency services have been put in place to ensure uprooted trees are removed at the earliest.
In Balasore district of Odisha, villagers were put up at a temporary shelter home after their huts were damaged, reported news agency ANI.
According to the IMD, the very severe cyclonic storm had weakened into severe cyclonic storm before making landfall close to Sunderban Dhanchi forest.
"Yesterday's very severe cyclonic storm 'Bulbul' over northwest Bay of Bengal (BoB) moved northeastwards, weakened into a severe cyclonic storm and crossed West Bengal coast close to Sunderban Dhanchi forest during 8:30 to 11:30 pm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph," it said in an official release.
The Met department also predicted light to moderate rainfall over the next six hours from 12.30 pm in North and South 24 Parganas, East Midnapore and Nadia districts.
Will Conduct Aerial Survey of Affected Areas: Mamata
In a tweet, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would conduct an aerial survey of the affected areas around Namkhana and Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas.
State power minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said measures were being taken to restore power supply in areas, where electric cables have been torn apart due to the cyclone.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about the situation arising out of the cylone and assured the state of all assistance to deal with the calamity.
Guv Hails WB Govt, Central Agencies for Cyclone Preparedness
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday hailed the "directional" efforts of the state government and other central agencies to minimise the impact of cyclone 'Bulbul'.
Dhankhar also lauded the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for its timely forecast of the severe cyclonic storm, which barrelled through the coastal districts of West Bengal on Saturday evening.
“The directional efforts of the state government, its agencies as also central outfits National Disaster Response Force, National Disaster Management Authority, Coast Guard, Navy and others have minimised the damage due to ‘Bulbul’...” the governor was quoted as saying in a Raj Bhavan release.
"I would seek to connect with the Hon'ble' Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee), who has been keeping a diligent watch, after she made aerial survey of the affected areas around Namkhana and Bakkhali as projected in media," it added.
2 Killed, Over 21 Lakh Evacuated in Bangladesh
Two people were killed and over 21 lakh evacuated from low-lying areas as cyclone Bulbul made predawn landfall on Sunday in Bangladesh, ravaging southwestern coastlines alongside India's West Bengal, before weakening into a deep depression.
Bangladesh’s authorities has earlier ordered a temporary ban on the movements of ferries and boats in internal river routes alongside all fishing boats and trawlers over northern part of the Bay of Bengal, where the storm originated initially in the form of low pressure.
A 65-year-old man died after a tree collapsed on his house in southwestern Patuakhali in the wee hours on Sunday as the cyclone battered the coastal district.
In a similar incident, a man died in Khulna as the cyclone damaged hundreds of houses and standing crops on hectares of land.
However, the damages caused by the cyclone were less than what it was feared, officials said.
Bangladesh’s Meteorological Department in a special bulletin on Sunday said the cyclone “weakened” and “started crossing” India’s West Bengal and Bangladesh’s southwestern Khulna coast.
The MET office on Saturday issued its highest "great signal numbers" 10 and 9 for the southwestern and southeastern coastlines, prompting authorities to launch a massive evacuation campaign. The met office on Sunday lowered the number to 3.
Disaster ministry secretary Shah Kamal said they initially planned to evacuate 14 lakh people to 5,000 cyclone shelters, however by Saturday midnight, the figure rose to over 21 lakh.
The cyclone was packing winds of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 130 kph (80 mph), while its emergence coincided with the moon phase or full moon, which inflates sea waters, raising fears about the extent of the catastrophe.
However, meteorologists said the damage was less than expected as its landfall came during the low tide early in the morning, instead of midnight when the Bangladesh coasts witness high tide.
“Much of its intensity was lost largely by the time it reached Bangladesh after ravaging West Bengal coastlines,” a met office spokesman said.
Bulbul slammed ashore near Sagar Island in West Bengal and approached world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, which straddles the Bangladesh-India border.
The government suspended weekend leave for government officials in 13 coastal districts on Saturday. Army troops were also called in to supplement the cyclone preparedness. Boat and ferry movements in internal riverine routes and coastal waters and air traffic operations near coastal airports were completely stopped for nearly 24 hours.
Authorities also suspended all activities in the country's seaports, including in Chattogram Port, which handles almost 80 per cent of Bangladesh's exports and imports.
According to US-based AccuWeather Inc, Bulbul strengthened from a deep depression into a tropical cyclone on Thursday morning, and by Friday afternoon had strengthened into a severe cyclone.
Bulbul was the equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane in the Atlantic, it said.
Bangladesh's coastal areas are often hit by deadly cyclones, but the country has upgraded its capacity to deal with natural disasters, successfully reducing the number of casualties in recent years.
(With Inputs from PTI, ANI)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.