Cyclone Amphan to intensify into 'extremely severe storm': Things to know

Topics Cyclone | Odisha  | West Bengal

Fishing boats anchored at Gopalpur beach, in Ganjam district of Odisha | Photo: PTI
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that Very Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Amphan’ over central parts of South Bay of Bengal is going to intensify into Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm in next 6 hours.

"The trajectory is mostly towards West Bengal, Sagar Islands and probably towards Bangladesh.... But we have to watch the trajectory very closely. NDRF has deployed the teams well in advance. They are either deployed or moving towards the destination," S N Pradhan, the chief of NDRF said.

The cyclone is also likely to unleash heavy rain and high-velocity winds in large swathes of coastal Odisha and West Bengal. It is likely to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Islands in Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh on May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm, Regional MeT Director in Kolkata G K Das said.

"The coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal, including North and South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly are likely to experience light to moderate rain at many places with heavy downpour at isolated places on May 19," Das added.

Seven NDRF teams have been deployed in six districts of West Bengal - South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly. According to Ministry of Home Affairs, the cyclone will make a landfall in West Bengal on Wednesday.

Odisha, which has been ravaged by a string of cyclones over the last few years, including the cyclone Fani last year, has made arrangements to shift 11,00,000 people from vulnerable areas, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said.

Twelve coastal districts - Ganjam, Gajapti, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khurda and Nayagarh -  are on high alert.

"We have 567 cyclone and flood shelters available to house the people in case evacuation is required. In addition, we have arranged 7,092 buildings to keep people if required," Jena said.

"Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), NDRF and fire service personnel have already been sent to the districts. We are also in constant touch with the Indian Coast Guard, IMD and NDRF for any requirement," he added.

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Jagatsinghpur DM Sangram Keshari Mohapatra meanwhile said that the administration is well prepared in view of cyclone 'Amphan' and by May 19 all people in the slum areas will be evacuated.

In Odisha, 10 NDRF teams have been deployed in seven districts - Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj. 15 ODRAF units have also been pre-positioned in the coastal districts of the state.

One team of NDRF consists of around 45 personnel.

Odisha has already chalked out the strategy to restore power and water supply, clear roads, start rescue and relief operations immediately after the cyclone peters out.

About the large number of migrants returning to Odisha from other states, many of them on foot, Jena said personnel at border checkposts have been asked to take appropriate steps keeping the cyclone situation in mind.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met under Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Saturday to review the preparedness for minimising the loss of loss of lives and property at a time when the country is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.
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