Cyclone Amphan is now moving rapidly towards the coast of Bengal and Odisha. The current speed of the cyclone is 160 km/h. Currently, the cyclone is about 1,000 km from Bengal’s favourite picnic spot Digha.
On 19 May, Cyclone Amphan can strike the shore and cause terrible havoc. It turned into a super cyclone this evening.
The intensity of the cyclone, seen in the high waves on the Bay of Bengal, is likely to increase further. In view of the danger, an alert has been issued in 12 districts of Odisha and 5 districts in West Bengal including Kolkata. Bengal’s South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore are on high alert.
The authority has banned fishing until further orders.
‘Suspend Shramik Special trains during Amphan’
West Bengal may face extensive damage in the storm, which may uproot communication and power poles. Cyclone Amphan could also disrupt rail and road links in many places in Bengal and Odisha and inflict extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards.
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.
Modi convenes high-level meeting
As Cyclone Amphan moves fast towards the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a high-level meeting to take stock of the disaster management preparations with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The prime minister has assured all possible central assistance to the states affected by the cyclone.
SN Pradhan, the director-general of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), said in the meeting that 25 teams of NDRF had been deployed while 12 others had been kept on standby. Twenty-four other NDRF teams have been kept ready in other coastal areas of the country.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Prime Minister’s Principal Adviser PK Sinha and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba were present in the meeting.
The atmospheric pressure created in the southeastern part of the Bay of Bengal resulted in Cyclone Amphan. It is growing rapidly towards the coast of West Bengal and northern Odisha towards the north-west of the Bay of Bengal.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had on Sunday (17 May) issued an alert for the coasts of West Bengal and Bangladesh after Cyclone Amphan intensified over the Bay of Bengal.
The eastern coastline of the country is vulnerable to cyclonic attacks and tsunamis. In November 2019, less than a year after Cyclone Fani hit Odisha, Cyclone Bulbul had arrived with the speed of Cyclone Alia of 2009. However, the handling of Cyclone Fani by Odisha in May that year had shown that India was now better prepared to face natural calamities than it was a decade or two ago.