Bengal Evacuates People In Coastal Areas As Amphan Intensifies

19 May 2020


Kolkata:  As cyclone Amphan intensified into a super-cyclonic storm, the West Bengal government on Tuesday started evacuating people from the coastal belts in view of the strong winds and heavy rainfall that may devastate a large part of the south Bengal districts.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already directed the state disaster management authorities to transport the evacuees to temporary cyclone centres for safety. Three coastal districts of East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas are expected to be the worst affected in the cyclonic spell.

Besides these three districts, cyclone Amphan is also likely to affect other south Bengal districts like Howrah, Hooghly, West Midnapore and Kolkata.

"Cyclone Amphan has intensified as a super cyclone. We are expecting this to make a landfall with devastating wind speed in the coastal belts of Bay of Bengal - somewhere between Digha and Hatya Island in Bangladesh, located close to Sundarbans," Met department official Sanjib Banerjee said.

According to Kolkata Met department sources cyclone Amphan is expected to make a landfall in the state on Wednesday. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had already said that Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) had already intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm overnight, which is coming at a speed of 14 km/hour towards the coastal belts of Bay of Bengal.

Currently, the cyclonic storm lays centred over west-central Bay of Bengal about 570-km nearly south of Paradip in Odisha, 720-km south-west of Digha (West Bengal) and 840-km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh. It is expected to make a landfall somewhere between West Bengal's Digha and Hatya Island in Bangladesh, sources said. A part of it may also make a landfall somewhere between the Kakdwip and Sagar Island in the state's South 24-Parganas district at a minimum speed of 155-165 km/hour (Maximum 185 km/hour).

Meanwhile, at least 12 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been kept on stand-by as the cyclonic storm is likely to hit a large part of the coastal districts with "very heavy rainfall" on Wednesday evening. Besides West Bengal, a warning has also been issued for Odisha, Sikkim and Meghalaya till Thursday.

Sources said that at least seven NDRF teams have been deployed in six West Bengal districts, including East Midnapore, West Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah.

Twenty four-hour control rooms have been opened in several districts to review the situation. Several steps have been taken by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the Kolkata Police to monitor the situation on an hourly basis. A centralised control room has also been opened at the KMC, Arannya Bhavan and the state secretariat Nabanno to keep a close watch on the situation.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked for an emergency meeting on Amphan on Monday evening with representatives from West Bengal and its neighbouring Odisha. State forest minister Rajib Banerjee also called for a meeting last evening to review all the measures taken to fight the upcoming cyclone. State government sources said that special arrangements had been made by deploying specialised disaster management teams at Sagar Island and Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas district in Bengal.