May 23, 2021 2:41:30 am
With the Met office saying that Cyclone Yaas is expected to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and cross the Odisha and West Bengal coasts on May 26, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to spend the nights of May 25 and 26 in the control room at Upanna, the annexe of state secretariat Nabanna in Howrah, overseeing arrangements and response of the local administrations.
Sources in the government said Banerjee will monitor the movement of the cyclonic storm from the round-the-clock control room, which has been opened to tackle the aftermath of the cyclone.
The CM took to her social media handles Sunday to say, “I have extensively reviewed the Disaster Management preparedness with regards to the impending Yaas cyclone today afternoon with all senior officers of relevant Central & State agencies along with DMs & SPs. All officials have been advised integrated command, advance planning & early evacuation from coastal & riverine areas to rescue shelters including cyclone & flood shelters, and to conduct relief and rehabilitation operations at the earliest. Fishermen have been alerted to immediately return. 24×7 control rooms have been set up (Ph No – 1070 & 033-22143526). All agencies have been asked to spring into action. Relief materials have been dispatched & Quick Response Teams are mobilised. I request all to stay alert.”
According to a senior government official, the Mamata will pass on instructions to district administrations from the control room and supervise the entire effort of the administration to combat the effects of the cyclone.
Last year, cyclone Amphan had left a trail of devastation across the state, throwing life out of gear and leaving more than 100 people dead and scores more homeless. Seeking to draw lessons from the gory aftermath then, the state government has made certain preparations in advance to deal with the situation this time. Cyclone and flood centres in coastal areas of Purba Medinipur and South 24-Parganas districts have been kept ready to shelter people evacuated from low-lying areas, following the Covid protocol.
The disaster management personnel have been put on high alert and the shelters are already being equipped with relief materials, medicines, food and drinking water. District administrations of North 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Paschim Medinipur and Kolkata have been asked make adequate preparations to combat the post-cyclone situation.
Fishermen have been barred from venturing into the Bay of Bengal from May 23 onwards.
Separate control rooms have been opened in Kolkata Municipal Corporation and all leaves of policemen and officials of the Disaster Management department have been cancelled.
Kolkata Police has put together 20 disaster management teams, which will undertake rescue operations as soon as the cyclone passes through the state. The government has already put out an alert for people in coastal belt, asking those living in mud houses to take shelter in pucca houses or cyclone centres. Repair work has been undertaken on a war footing to strengthen the embankments. In several districts, civic authorities have rushed teams to cut trees and or branches which are in danger of being uprooted or ripped out by the twister.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) put out a statement Sunday saying, “The low-pressure area is very likely to concentrate into a depression over east central Bay of Bengal by tomorrow, the 23rd May morning. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards, intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24 and further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the subsequent 24 hours.”
It further said, “It would continue to move north-northwestwards, intensify further and reach north Bay of Bengal near West Bengal and the adjoining north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts by the morning of May 26.”
“It is very likely to cross West Bengal and the adjoining north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts around the evening of May 26,” the IMD added.
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