The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issues fresh cyclone alert for West Bengal and North Odisha Coasts as Amphan cyclone is very likely to move towards Indian shores. “It is very likely to move North-northwestwards across the northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts between Digha(West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands(Bangladesh) close to Sunderbans during the afternoon or evening of May 20, 2020, as an extremely severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 165-175 kmph gusting to 195kmph,” says an IMD official.
The Meteorological Department has issued an “orange message” for West Bengal for the storm which is likely to weaken and hit the vulnerable areas extensively. IMD advises the complete shutdown of shipping and boating activities in parts of West Bengal and Odisha till May 20(Wednesday). It would disrupt rail and road links and would cause huge damage to communication and electricity poles. The disaster is expected to cause massive harm to the environment with the destruction of plantations, housing, flora, and fauna.
“It will gradually increase thereafter becoming 110 to 120 kmph gusting to 130kmph over West Midnapore, Howrah, Hooghly, Kolkata and 165 to 175 kmph gusting to 195kmph over the districts of North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore from the afternoon to night of May 20,” says Regional Met Director G K Das.
Rainfall is likely to be observed on Wednesday at many places in the districts of Gangetic West Bengal. The storm disaster is predicted for the second time in the last one year after the serious Cyclone Fani hit Odisha and West Bengal Coast.
PM Modi reviews preparedness
PM Modi held a meeting with West Bengal CM Mamta Banarjee and other government officials in New Delhi to discuss all the precautionary measures. In his tweet, Modi says “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,” he added.
On Tuesday morning, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had a telephonic conversation with Banerjee and Navin Patnaik(CM. Odisha) to discuss the arrangements and preparedness in West Bengal and Odisha and assured them all possible help. Shah said, “The central government is with you”.
West Bengal government had started evacuating a number of people from the coastal belts on Tuesday as Cyclone Amphan intensified as a severe storm. About 25 teams from the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed on the ground and the other 12 are ready in reserve, says DG NDRF Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba.