The Met department has issued an “orange message” for West Bengal, warning of extensive damage in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts
Cyclone ‘Amphan’, one of the worst cyclones over the Bay of Bengal, lay centred about 170 km south of West Bengal’s Digha on Wednesday. About 4.5 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas in West Bengal and Odisha ahead of the its landfall.
‘Amphan’, termed as an extremely severe cyclonic storm, is expected to make a landfall at 4pm near Sunderbans in West Bengal. It is likely to move north-northeastwards after landfall and pass close to Kolkata in its eastern side, causing extensive damage and flooding of low-lying areas in the city, the Met department said. It has issued an “orange message” for West Bengal, warning of extensive damage in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.
There is also likelihood of extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards, the MeT department added.
Here are the top developments:
* Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said that she, along with senior government officials, would directly monitor the situation in the state and would herself stay put at the state secretariat on Wednesday.
* The Bengal government has also formed rapid response teams to ensure that tigers from Sundarbans in South 24 Parganas district do not stray into nearby human settlements after the landfall.
* A team of Indian Navy divers has been stationed at Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district with specialised equipment and can be rushed for rescue missions as and when required, a defence spokesman said.
* Storm surge of 4 to 5 metres above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of South and North 24 Parganas and about 3 to 4 metres over low lying areas of East Midnapore district of West Bengal during the time of landfall, said officials.
* The Indian Coast Guard has deployed 20 disaster relief teams (DRT) along the eastern coast in view of cyclone ‘Amphan’. These teams will help in relief operations at short notice, the coast guard said.
* Cargo and evacuation flight operations at the Kolkata airport have been suspended till 5 am on Thursday due to the cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’, airport officials said.
* West Bengal on Tuesday mounted one of its biggest evacuation exercises by moving more than three lakh people to safer places as the extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ roared towards the coastal areas of the state, officials said.
* Heavy downpour coupled with high velocity winds pounded coastal Odisha, uprooting trees and flattening fragile structures, officials said on Wednesday.
* A Bhubaneswar report said the cyclonic system is being continuously monitored with the help of Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) at Vishakhapatnam, Paradip and Gopalpur.
* Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Tuesday spoke to more than a dozen MPs from Odisha and West Bengal, and urged them to ensure all possible help to people in coastal districts in view of the impending super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ .