New Delhi: Two deaths were reported in Bangladesh and over 1.2 lakh people have been evacuated from the coastal areas as West Bengal and Odisha brace for the severe cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ on Saturday.
The Kolkata unit of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a high alert and advised people to not venture out as Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ has already hit the landmass and is currently hovering over the Sundarban delta.
Flight operations at Kolkata airport have been suspended from 6 PM Saturday till 6 AM Sunday. While it is expected to weaken in the next three hours, here are the top developments so far:
- Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ has made a landfall near West Bengal’s Sagar island at around 8 PM today and is hovering over Sundarban delta in north or northeastward direction.
- The entire process of the cyclonic is likely to go on for three hours before the eye of the storm lies over the landmass.
- The cyclone, currently 150 kms away from Kolkata, is expected to cross South 24-Parganas with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph, marking a ‘severe’ landfall.
- Heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to persist due to ‘Bulbul’. The situation may improve around Sunday evening.
- Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ also crossed Odisha coast with winds onshore at 35-40 kmph with heavy rainfall.
- One person has died in a rain-related wall collapse incident in Odisha’s Kendrapara district. The incident is being inquired.
- Two aircraft and three ships from the Naval Air station have been deployed for looking out for stranded fishing boats and render necessary assistance. Additionally, ten diving and medical teams are also kept ready for augmenting rescue and relief efforts in Odisha and West Bengal.
- Continuous liaison is being maintained following Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s direction to stakeholders for responding to any incident in West Bengal.
- Odisha government is also keeping a close watch on the situation and necessary action is being taken to deal with the situation.
- SpiceJet airlines has offered a full refund and waiver of cancellation/change fee (fare difference applicable) for all flights to/from Kolkata for travel till November 10, 2019.
Earlier, West Bengal CM Banerjee urged people to not panic and co-operate with the rescue teams. In a Twitter post, Banerjee said that the administration is taking all measures to tackle the contingency.
The ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ surged northwards over the Bay of Bengal and was centred about 280 to 475 km south-west of the maritime ports of Mongla, Payra, Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh before marking its entry into the Indian coast on Saturday afternoon.