In view of Cyclone Yaas which is likely to hit the Eastern Coast on 26 May, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has airlifted 950 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel, while the Indian Railways has cancelled over 25 trains ahead of the cyclonic storm.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 23 May informed that the Armed Forces have commenced preparations to mitigate the impact of Cyclone Yaas and that the IAF has also airlifted 70 tonnes of load from Jamnagar, Varanasi, Patna and Arakonnam to Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Port Blair in 15 Transport Aircraft.
“Sixteen transport aircraft and 26 helicopters are on standby for immediate deployment. Indian Navy, fresh from Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and rescue operations on the Western Coast, has moved 10 HADR pallets to Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, while five HADR pallets are ready at Port Blair,” the Ministry of Defence informed.
Eight ships of Eastern Naval Command and Andaman and Nicobar Command have also been embarked with HADR Bricks to provide succour to the people likely to be impacted. Besides this, four diving and 10 flood relief columns have also been pre-positioned at Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Chilika for rendering assistance to civil administration at short notice.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has also mobilised its assets in view of Cyclone Yaas and stated that all the ashore, afloat and aviation units are on high alert. The ICG ships and aircraft have been deployed in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman sea and the ICG Remote Operating Stations are relaying weather alert messages in local languages on MMB radio for the seafarers and fishermen.
“Navtex warnings are being issued regularly and International safety Net (ISN) has been activated to alert the vessels in/transiting through the area. Ships at anchorage have also been advised to take shelter and Single Point Mooring (SPM) operators for necessary safety measures,” the MoD said.
The ICG has deployed 16 ships and three aircraft per day on average across the deep waters of the Bay of Bengal as well as off the coast of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
In addition, 31 Coast Guard Disaster Relief Teams (DRTs) with inflatable boats, lifebuoys and lifejackets are on standby and medical teams and ambulances have been kept on standby for swift mobilisation.
The Eastern Railway on 23 May has cancelled 25 trains between 24 and 29 May due to Cyclone Yaas. The Railways shared the list of the trains that have been cancelled.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on 24 May morning, depression over the East-central Bay of Bengal has intensified into a Deep Depression and about 600 km north-northwest of Port Blair. It will intensify into a Cyclonic Storm by Monday morning and further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during the subsequent 24 hours.
It is expected to cross West Bengal and north Odisha coasts on the evening of 26 May and the IMD has predicted the wind speed of the cyclone to be around 155-165 km per hour, gusting to 185 km per hour.