Severe cyclonic storm Amphan moves towards Bangladesh from WB

AFTER  devastating coastal districts in Odisha and West Bengal,  cyclonic storm Amphan moved towards Bangladesh. At a speed of 190 mph at times, Amphan, which made landfall in Sagar Islands in South 24 Parganas district on the Bay of Bengal on May 20, has destroyed thousands of thatched houses in Odisha and coastal parts of West Bengal. Embankments were breached in the low-level areas because of the massive storm surge. In Kolkata and Howrah,  several houses were damaged and trees uprooted. Train services and operation of Haldia Port, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport remained suspended. About seven lakh people were evacuated from the coastal areas of the two states to safer places before it hit them. Electric poles were uprooted, telephone and cable television wires were snapped, trees were uprooted and thatched houses were razed due to heavy speed rains and rainfall. Besides, at least two deaths were reported during the calamity in Odisha. A three-month-old girl died as a mud wall collapsed in Bhadrak district’s Tihidi area. A 67-year-old woman died in Kendrapara as she suffered cardiac arrest and could not be taken to a hospital due to road blockages caused by uprooted trees. Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena claimed that the telecommunications services remained by and large unaffected. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had directed the officials to ensure ‘zero-casualty’ ahead of the impending cyclone. NDRF, ODRAF, Fire Service, Police, and district officials remained alert and evacuated over 1.5 lakh people from low-lying areas as well as people living in quarantine centres which were in 3-km radius from the coast in Odisha. These people were shifted to 2,921 shelter homes where they were provided free cooked food. Jagatsinghpur received the highest rainfall of 119.4 mm followed by Kendrapara 74.3 mm, Puri 71.2 mm, Jajpur 50.2 mm, Bhadrak 54.9 mm, Balasore 54.2mm, Cuttack 43.5 mm and Khurda 34.9 mm since Tuesday. The highest wind speed of 106 km per hour was recorded at the port town of Paradip says the most powerful cyclone to form over the Bay of Bengal in over two decades, Amphan made landfall at 4.30 pm IST on May 20. The high velocity of winds, accompanied by heavy downpour flattened houses, uprooted trees and electric poles. Amphan had weakened to ‘very severe cyclone’ category before making landfall. It claimed 12 lives in West Bengal. Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas districts and their nearby areas bore the brunt of the natural calamity. No casualties have been reported from Odisha yet. Intense rainfall was recorded in several areas of Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jaipur, Ganjam, Ganjam, Bhadrak and Balasore districts of Odisha. At least 6.58 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and Odisha before the cyclone struck. NDRF chief SN Pradhan said over 5 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and more than 1.58 lakh in Odisha. 20 NDRF teams have begun road clearing operations in Odisha, while 19 teams are shifting people to safety in West Bengal. Amphan moved north-north-eastwards with a speed of 28 kilometres per hour during the past six hours. It lay cantered over Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal as a Severe Cyclonic Storm about 110 kilometres northeast of Kolkata. It moved north-north-eastwards and weaken further into a Cyclonic Storm. Light to moderate rainfall occurred at most places in West Bengal with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over Malda and Dinajpur districts and over most of the districts of Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim. Rainfall was recorded at most places with heavy falls at isolated places over Meghalaya and heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over the western districts of Assam and Meghalaya. (Edited by PK Chakravarty with inputs from The Hindu, A I R and other sources)

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