Cyclone Amphan set to make landfall today; over 1 lakh evacuated in Odisha

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New Delhi: As many as 1,19,075 people have been evacuated from 13 vulnerable districts of Odisha as Cyclone Amphan is expected to make landfall on Wednesday between Digha in West Bengal and Hatia Island in Bangladesh.

Due to the cyclone, rainfall and strong winds are expected to batter several districts of Odisha today. As many 1,704 shelter camps have been set up in anticipation of the super cyclone.

Super cyclone ‘Amphan’ weakened into an extremely severe cyclonic storm on Tuesday but still packed enough force to pulverise coastal districts of Odisha and West Bengal.

As it rumbled over the Bay of Bengal 510 km off the Digha coast in West Bengal, likely charting a north-northeastward course, the two states were on high alert.

Satyanarayan Pradhan, director-general of National Disaster Response Force, said 41 battalions – 21 in West Bengal and 20 in Odisha — of NDRF have been deployed to respond to emergent situations.

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

“Though Super Cyclone Amphan is losing its strength gradually, it will hit the land on Wednesday afternoon/evening between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) close to Sundarbans as an ‘Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm’ with a devastating wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph. Utility services like telephone, power and water supplies and road infrastructure are likely to be seriously damaged,” Indian Meteorological Department director-general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.

The Super Cyclone is being tracked continuously by the Doppler Weather Radar at Vishakhapatnam.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government had evacuated around three lakh people from the coastal parts of four districts. She also assured Union home minister Amit Shah about her government’s preparedness when he called her in the morning.

“Cyclone Amphan is likely to hit Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas at around 2 pm on Wednesday. So we evacuated around two lakh people and 50,000 people in South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas respectively from their homes to relief centres. In East Midnapore and West Midnapore, around 40,000 and 10,000 people were evacuated respectively,” Ms Banerjee said.

“Union home minister called me. We had a talk on the preparedness. I told him we are doing well. There is no problem,” she added.

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