After Cyclone Amphan intensified into a “super cyclonic storm” on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting and reviewed the response preparedness and evacuation plan presented by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). He also assured all possible assistance to West Bengal and Bangladesh, which are likely to be hit by the cyclone.
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. https://t.co/VJGCRE7jBO
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 18, 2020
Cyclone Amphan, expected to make landfall on May 20, is being taken seriously as this is only the second such severe cyclone that would hit India after 1999, NDRF chief S N Pradhan said. It has the potential to cause extensive damage like ‘Fani’ in the coastal districts of West Bengal when it finally makes landfall, the government said.
The storm turned ‘extremely severe’ over the Bay of Bengal at 2.30 am today, the Indian Meterological Department (IMD) had earlier said, “It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and move fast across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts between Digha and Hatiya Islands during 09:00-12:00 pm of 20th May, 2020, as a very severe cyclonic storm,” the latest bulletin released by the weather body read.
In somewhat comforting news for the Centre and the state governments, the India Meteorological Department forecast that the storm will lose some of its intensity on the way and slam West Bengal as a very severe cyclonic storm during the landfall between Digha in the state and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh on Wednesday evening. It will still have a maximum sustained windspeed of 165 to 175 kmph gusting up to 185 kmph, PTI reported.
The coastal districts of West Bengal will receive heavy to extremely heavy rainfall on May 19 and 20. These include East Midnapur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata in West Bengal. The storm is also likely to impact the coastal districts of north Odisha, including Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore.
Both Bengal and Odisha have started evacuating locals from their vulnerable coastal areas. The Mamata Banerjee government put on high alert the district magistrates of South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore, which are expected to see maximum damage, and dispatched disaster management teams to coastal areas. As many as 37 teams of National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the two states.