New Delhi: The IMD said that the super cyclone ‘Amphan’ has weakened into an extremely severe cyclonic storm on Tuesday as it moved nearer to the coast, triggering rainfall in several parts of Odisha and West Bengal. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan: Over 3 Lakh People Evacuated, All Precautionary Measures Taken, Says Mamata Banerjee
As a preventive measure, the governments of both states have stepped up efforts to evacuate people from vulnerable areas to safer places. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan Updates: Amphan' Will be Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm When it Makes Landfall on May 20, Says NDRF
As per updates from the IMD, the super cyclone is at the moment centred over the west-central Bay of Bengal, about 420 km south of Paradip (Odisha), 570 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 700 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh. Also Read - As Amphan Intensifies Into Severe Cyclonic Storm, PM Chairs Meet to Review Preparedness | Top 10 Points
The IMD further stated that it is likely to move north-northeastwards over the Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha and Hatiya Islands during Wednesday afternoon or evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.
As part of the impact of the super cyclone, heavy rain and strong wind were witnessed in several areas of Puri, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Khurda districts of Odisha, and other parts of West Bengal as well.
Addressing a press conference, IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said because the super cyclone is gradually weakening, its impact is unlikely to be very severe on Odisha.
The central agencies said that 15 units of National Disaster Response Force and 15 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been deployed in the districts which are likely to be hit.
All fishermen along with boats and vessels have already returned from the seas and they have been advised not to venture out for fishing activities till May 21.
On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that at least three lakh people have been evacuated from coastal areas of her state in view of the impending super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’. She said all steps have been taken to deal with any eventuality arising out of it.
He further added that the senior state government officials are directly monitoring the situation and announced several helpline numbers.
“All precautionary measures are taken to deal with any eventuality arising out of the super cyclone. I had a word with Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding it. At least three lakh people have been evacuated from three coastal districts of the state and moved to relief shelters,” she said.
She has also talked to the Railways not to run any Shramik Special’ trains to bring back migrant labourers to the state from Wednesday till Thursday morning.
The NDRF said that it has deployed 41 teams, including seven reserves, have been deployed in West Bengal and Odisha in view of the impending super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’.
NDRF chief SN Pradhan said the cyclone Amphan is a second disaster coming in the time of already prevailing COVID-19, hence preparations have been made to that scale.
“A total of 41 NDRF teams, including reserves, are deployed in two Amphan-affected states of Odisha and West Bengal,” he said.
Fifteen NDRF teams are deployed and five in reserve in seven districts of Odisha while 19 teams actively deployed and two in reserve in six West Bengal districts, he said.
He said that due to social-distancing protocols in the wake of coronavirus, the cyclone rescue centres having a capacity to hold about 1,000 people will have only 400-500 locals.