Severe cyclone likely to hit Bengal; NDRF teams deployed, Army & Navy on alert

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) India Meteorological Department on Saturday forecast wind speeds of up to 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph in the severe cyclonic storm that is “very likely” to strike the West Bengal coast on Sunday midnight (May 26).

IMD has also issued a very heavy rainfall warning for West Bengal, Odisha and the north-eastern states in the wake of the cyclone.

“The Depression over the east-central Bay of Bengal moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 15 kmph during the past 6 hours, intensified into a Deep Depression and lay centred about 380 km south-southeast of Sagar Islands (West Bengal) and 530 km south-southeast of Canning (West Bengal) at 5:30 a.m.,” IMD said.

The IMD report expects major damage to thatched houses, agricultural crops, uprooting of trees and flooding of low-lying areas in North & South 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal. Power and communication lines are also expected to get damaged in the cyclone fury.

Meanwhile, the National Crisis Management Committee met under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Friday to review preparedness for the impending cyclone.

The Cabinet Secretary assured the Government of West Bengal that all Central agencies are on full alert and will be available for assistance

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 12 teams and five additional teams are kept on standby. Rescue and relief teams of the Army, Navy and Coast Guard along with ships and aircraft have been kept in readiness. Regular alerts and advisories are being sent by DG, Shipping to the ports of Kolkata and Paradip. Emergency teams have been deployed by the Ministry of Power for immediate power restoration.

The Cabinet Secretary stressed that all necessary preventive and precautionary measures may be taken by the State Government and Central Agencies. The aim should be to keep the loss of lives to zero and minimise damage to property and infrastructure such as power and telecom, and in case of damage, the essential services should be restored in the shortest possible time.

He said that it must be ensured that the fishermen at sea are called back and people from vulnerable areas are evacuated well in time. He asked the Government of West Bengal to review the placement of large hoardings in the areas likely to be affected by the cyclonic storm.



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