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Sunday 5 July 2020

Cyclone Amphan to hit coastal areas from afternoon

As super cyclone Amphan barrels towards the Indian shores, the government had evacuated lakhs of people from vulnerable areas and shifted to safety

Heavy rains lashed Digha in West Bengal and Paradip Coast in Odisha on Wednesday morning as Super cyclone Amphan was expected to hit the coastal areas of both the Indian states and also of neighbouring country Bangladesh in afternoon.

However, the cyclonic storm is still packed enough force to pulverise coastal districts of Odisha and West Bengal where lakhs of people were evacuated from vulnerable areas and shifted to safety.

Cyclone AMPHAN is expected make a landfall somewhere between West Bengal’s Digha and Hatya Island in Bangladesh. A part of it may also make a landfall somewhere between Kakdwip and Sagar Island in the state’s South 24 Parganas district at a minimum speed of 155-165 km/hour and a maximum of 185 km/hour.

Also read: Cyclone Amphan likely to intensify into cyclonic storm in next 12 hours

As it moved closer to the coast, several parts of Odisha received heavy rainfall and saw strong winds and high tides.

Digha in West Bengal’s East Medinipur is also witnessing high tides and strong winds as the cyclonic storm approaches ad citizens have been urged to stay indoors.

The cyclonic system that spread in a diameter of 18 km on Monday expanded to 33 km on Tuesday, a meteorological department official said in Bhubaneswar, explaining that the sprawl had reduced the cyclone’s intensity.

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“AMPHAN is the most intense and the first super cyclone since the 1999 Odisha cyclone. We are dealing with a multi-hazard scenario as the devastating winds are expected to cause extensive damage to structures,h ouses and trees,” said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the, India Meteorological Department.

This is the second pre-monsoon cyclone to hit India in two years and has been anticipated as one of the worst storm over Bay of Bengal in decades. Odisha was savaged by a super cyclone in 1999 that had claimed around 10,000 lives.

Forty-one teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), including seven reserves, have been deployed in the two states, its chief S N Pradhan said in New Delhi.

Fifteen NDRF teams are deployed and five are in reserve in seven districts of Odisha, while 19 teams were actively deployed and two in reserve in six West Bengal districts, he said.

Due to social-distancing protocols in the wake of Coronavirus, the cyclone rescue centres having a capacity to hold about 1,000 people will have only 400-500 people, Pradhan said.

Pradhan said Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of the national crisis management committee (NCMC) on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee to review the preparedness for the impending cyclone.

According to the observations from the coast, the IMD said that wind speed at Paradip was 102 kilometre per hour, at Chandbali 74 kilometre per hour, at Bhubaneshwar it was 37 kilometre per hour, at Balasore 61 kilometre per hour and in Puri the speed was 41 kilometre per hour.

As super cyclone Amphan barrels towards the Indian shores, the government had evacuated lakhs of people from vulnerable areas and shifted to safety.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General SN Pradhan had said that Amphan is a ‘super cyclone’ and it is a serious issue. “The only other cyclone of this magnitude hit Odisha in 1999 and it was very deadly,” Pradhan had stated.

The Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also spoke to Chief Secretaries of West Bengal and Odisha to make necessary arrangements and preparedness against the cyclone.

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