UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the world body is ready to assist India in its relief efforts for the Cyclone YAAS-affected people if needed. “From South Asia, which is being impacted currently by Tropical Cyclone Yaas, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that we have activated cyclone preparedness measures and prepositioned stocks of food and other items,” spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said. “The cyclone reached the Indian state of Odisha on May 26 with millions of people being evacuated by the Government ahead of the storm. UN agencies and our partners in India stand ready to support the response efforts if State authorities request it’’. In Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says three lakh houses have been damaged due to rough weather conditions arising out of the cyclone Yass which destroyed the rural economy in West Bengal and Odisha. A total of 134 river embankments along the coastal districts have either broken or been damaged by its impact. She will visit the affected areas of North and South 24 Parganas and East Medinipur on the 28th and 29th of May. Yaas Cyclone missed Kolkata but anti-clockwise movement creates coastal storm surge.
Odisha Government has ordered the early restoration of normalcy in the area hit by the Cyclonic storm Yaas yesterday. After reviewing the extent of damage in the North Odisha districts last evening in the capital Bhubaneswar, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered the restoration of at least 80 percent of electricity supply and road communication in the cyclone-hit areas within 24 hours. He has also declared seven days of relief to the people of 128 villages marooned by flash floods in the coastal districts like Bhadrak and Balasore. Cyclone Yaas lashed North Odisha with the downpour and devastating winds with a speed up to 140 kilometers per hour, rescue relief and restoration teams have swung into action for early resumption of power and road clearance. Though the oceanic disaster did not cause much harm to electricity supply lines and telecom networks, its damaging potential is evident in extensive inundation of low-lying areas and massive destruction of trees, especially in Bhadrak, Baleshwar and Mayurbhanj districts. Six lakh fifty thousand people had been evacuated to safe shelters, thereby saving precious lives, two deaths have been reported one each from Baleshwar and Keonjhar district. Meanwhile, the Biju Patnaik International Airport in the capital Bhubaneswar has resumed service from last evening after being shut for less than 24 hours, as part of cyclone preparedness. In West Bengal, extremely high tidal waves and stormy wind along with heavy to very heavy rainfall flooded low-lying and coastal areas and also submerged nearby villages and towns in several districts of Bengal. At several places, disaster management teams rescued people who were stranded due to a sudden rush of water, either by breaking the embankments or overflowing the guard walls. Agricultural land has been extensively damaged due to the inflow of saline water in the fields. Picture courtesy: Reuters