New Delhi: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Tuesday said that the super cyclone ‘Amphan’, which will make landfall on May 20 between Digha in West Bengal and Hatia Island in Bangladesh, is a significant development and 53 teams are on alert to tackle the situation. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan: Heavy Rain in Odisha, West Bengal; Evacuation in Full Swing; NDRF Deploys 41 Teams | Top Developments
Addressing a press conference, NDRF chief SN Pradhan on Monday said that the NDRF was not taking Amphan lightly as it is only the second time that the country is facing a super cyclone in the Bay of Bengal region. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan: Over 3 Lakh People Evacuated, All Precautionary Measures Taken, Says Mamata Banerjee
Calling it a very ‘significant development’, he said this is the second super cyclone after the first one hit the Odisha coast in 1999. Talking about the cyclone Amphan, he said it will make landfall on May 20 between Digha in West Bengal and Hatia Island in Bangladesh. The landing could also take place between Sagar Island or Kakdwip and both are residential areas. Also Read - Cyclone Amphan Updates: Amphan' Will be Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm When it Makes Landfall on May 20, Says NDRF
He also added that when Amphan will make landfall, its wind speed is expected to be between 195-200 km per hour and it will be in residential areas.
Talking about the damage it will cause, the IMD said that houses with thatched roof, coconut trees, telecom and electrical lines can suffer serious damage. This also could lead to loss of human lives and property and hence the preparation should be according to that and this is what the state governments have also been told, the NDRF chief said.
The NDRF has deployed 19 teams in West Bengal with four on standby and 13 teams in Odisha with 17 on standby. An NDRF team has about 45 personnel.
He also added that 6 NDRF battalions are on ‘hot standby’ at various locations in the country so that they can be used for reinforcement after immediate airlift by Indian Air Force transport planes.
Earlier in the day, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) and discussed the preparedness and requirements for the impending super cyclone.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday urged Congress workers in West Bengal and Odisha to warn people of the impending super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ and help them move to safer places.
“Cyclone Amphan is coming to the country amid the Corona crisis. I appeal to all Congress workers of West Bengal and Odisha to warn people of the impending danger and help take people to safer places. You should all be safe,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
On the other hand, the Odisha government has asked its officials to discourage migrants from returning to their hometown in coastal districts, and insisted that food and accommodation arrangements be made for them. On Tuesday, 15,773 people returned to Odisha from other states.
The districts which are likely to be hit by the severe cyclonic storm in Odisha include Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Mayurbhanj.
Taking precautionary measure, Bangladesh on Tuesday ordered an overnight evacuation of people from vulnerable places to safer places. The disaster management ministry of the country has set a target of evacuating over 2 million people to safety.
In West Bengal, the Haldia Petrochemicals’ plant and Indian Oil’s refinery in East Midnapore district have been put on high alert in the wake of cyclone Amphan. Several measures have been taken by the Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) management in view of the cyclone.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said around three lakh people have been evacuated from the coastal areas in the state, while around one lakh people were shifted to cyclone shelters in Odisha.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee to review the preparedness for the impending cyclone.
Coastal districts of North and South 24 Parganas, and East Midnapore, including the ecologically fragile Sundarbans, in West Bengal face a serious threat of inundation and significant damage to life and property, officials said.
‘Amphan’ had turned into a super cyclonic storm from the extremely severe cyclonic storm on Monday, only the second such tropical storm over the Bay of Bengal in two decades, before getting somewhat enfeebled. Odisha was savaged by a super cyclone in 1999 that had claimed around 10,000 lives.