Amphan turns super cyclone, evacuation in coastal areas
PM holds high level meet with MHA, NDMA
Extremely severe cyclone storm Amphan on Monday turned into a super cyclonic storm and thousands of people have been evacuated from low lying coastal areas in Odisha and West Bengal. Amphan has potential to extensive damages to property and infrastructure in coastal areas of north Odisha and West Bengal. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard have been put on high alert.
According to Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General of India Meteorological Department (IMD), super cyclone will arrive with a wind speed up to at 250 km per hour and it will hit the West Bengal on May 20. “Amphan will make landfall in some area between Digha of West Bengal and Hatia Island of Bangladesh, both are highly populated areas,” he said.
The IMD has warned of storm surge of 4-6 metre height above astronomical tide, will inundate low lying coastal areas and likely to inundate low lying areas of South & North 24 Parganas and about 4-6 metres over the low lying areas of East Medinipur of West Bengal during the time of landfall.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also held a high level meeting with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to review the arising cyclone Amphan situation in different parts of the country and to assess the situation that may arise after the landfall.
“Reviewed the preparedness regarding the situation due to cyclone ‘Amphan.’ The response measures as well as evacuation plans were discussed. I pray for everyone’s safety and assure all possible support from the Central Government,” PM Modi tweeted.
Dr Mohapatra said the cyclone could ravage the property and infrastructure in east Medinipur, south and north 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata districts in West Bengal and to property and infrastructure in West Bengal and in Oidhsa in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts.
The State is expected to face extensive damage in the storm that is likely to uproot communication and power poles. It said the Amphan could also disrupt rail and road links in many places in Bengal and Odisha, uproot kutcha properties and inflict extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards.
The damages are expected to be less in Odisha as compared to West Bengal. The Home Secretary has also requested Governments of West Bengal & Odisha to take all preventive actions. These include timely evacuation of people from the areas likely to be affected, having a 24×7 control room, provision of adequate food items.
The super cyclone has unleashed heavy rains coupled with high-velocity winds in coastal Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before its landfall on May 20. This is the only third pre monsoon super cyclone in 30 years.
NDRF chief S Pradhan said, 19 teams has been deployed in West Bengal and four have been put on standby while 13 teams deployed in Odisha and 17 put on standby. Besides six batalians has been put on hot standby.
Taking note of its severity, the Odisha government has planned to evacuate 11 lakh people from low lying in coastal Odisha districts like Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara. The New Delhi-Bhubaneswar special train will run on a diverted route for the next four days. Ahead of Cyclone Amphan making landfall, Odisha has urged the Centre to temporarily suspend ‘Shramik Special’ trains passing through areas falling in the direction of the storm. The Odisha government also announced that it will shift migrant workers lodged in various quarantine centres near the coast to safer places.
According to IMD, 21 years ago, in 1999, another super cyclonic storm had ravaged large parts of Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal. It had taken Odisha a number of months to repair the extensive damage that the super cyclone had caused back then.
Amphan would be only the third super cyclone to form in the Bay after 1990, after the Andhra Pradesh super cyclone (May4-9, 1990, no name) and the Bangladesh super cyclone (April 24-May 2, 1991, Gorky). The former had hit the Machilipatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh and claimed 967 deaths, while the latter rammed into Chittagong, Bangladesh, killing an estimated 1.38 lakh people.
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi
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