Cyclone Bulbul left a trail of destruction in south Bengal districts after making landfall in Sagar Island on Saturday night, killing at least eight persons. North 24 Parganas was the worst-hit district with reports of five fatalities in the district. The other affected districts are South 24 Parganas, East Midnapore and West Midnapore.
The state government has initiated relief efforts in the areas affected by the cyclone with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee likely to make an aerial survey on Monday to assess the damage.
“Due to the severe cyclonic storm Bulbul, I have decided to postpone my North Bengal visit in the coming week. Instead, I would take an aerial survey of the affected areas around Namkhana and Bakkhali… I am also planning to visit the cyclone-affected areas of Basirhat in North 24 Parganas on November 13 (Wednesday),” the Chief Minister, who spent the Saturday night at a Control Room set up state secretariat in Kolkata to monitor the rescue work, wrote on Facebook. She will also be meeting officials on Monday at Kakdwip to review relief and rehabilitation measures.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to Mamata Banerjee and assured all possible assistance from the Centre. “Reviewed the situation in the wake of cyclonic conditions and heavy rains in parts of eastern India. Spoke with West Bengal CM regarding the situation arising due to Cyclone Bulbul. Assured all possible assistance from the Centre,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
According to sources, a primary report has been given by the state government to the centre in which it has been mentioned that a total of 7,815 houses were damaged and 870 trees uprooted in the cyclonic storm.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been at loggerheads with the Chief Minister, on Sunday praised her for ‘leading from the front”. “Adverse impact has been contained, thanks to honourable CM leading from the front and there being synergy between the State and Central agencies,” the Governor tweeted, urging NGOs to come forward for rehabilitation assistance.
“The directional efforts of the state government, its agencies, as also the central outfits like NDRF, NDMA, Coast Guard, Navy and others have minimised the damage due to Cyclone Bulbul. Still, there have been loss and damage. A timely warning of the cyclone by the IMD also contributed to the preparedness of the agencies,” a statement issued by the Governor read.
According to the Met Department, the severe cyclonic storm weakened around 5:30 am on Sunday — almost nine hours after it made a landfall — as it moved towards Bangladesh, adjoining coastal West Bengal
“Light rain is expected in Nadia, North and South 24 Paraganas for six hours. By Monday, weather will be fine with clear sky across the state,” said G K Das, Deputy Director-General of Meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, in Kolkata.
According to state minister Jyotipriya Mullick, who has been camping in North 24 Parganas, Sandeshkhali has been worst affected in the district. “TMC workers and others have been asked to help the officials in relief operations,” he added.
The eight persons, who died in storm-related incidents, have been identified as — Reba Biswas (48 ) of Basirhat, Mahidul Gazi (50 ) of Basirhat, Suchitra Mondol (65) of Hinjalganj, Prakriti Mridha (60) of Hinjalgunj Sahebkhali, Bideshi Sarkar (60) of Sandeshkhali, Kamala Mondol (82 ) of Gosaba, Sujata Das (27) of Nandigram, Sanjay Das, a fisherman of Kakdwip.
Eight other fishermen are still missing.
State Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan said all emergency services have been put in place to ensure uprooted trees are removed at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary held a teleconference with district magistrates of the affected districts, teams of state government, NDRF among others.
“Six NDRF and four SDRF teams are continuing the rescue operations.15,000 civic volunteers have been also deployed for the relief work,” said an official.
As per the data received from the various district administration, a total of 1.78 lakh people have been brought to 471 relief camps, set up at nine locations. Nearly 373 temporary kitchens have been set up for preparing food to feed the affected people, they said, adding that work to restore electricity and telecommunication services has already been started.
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