Cyclone Yaas is expected to make landfall between Odisha’s Dhamra and Balasore around noon with winds up to 140 km per hour. At 7.30 am it was about 40 km east of Dhamra and 90 km south-southeast of Balasore, moving north-northwest at 15 km per hour.
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People in Odisha, Bengal and Jharkhand woke up to strong winds and heavy rain as the eastern states brace for Yaas – the second ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ to hit India this month, after Tauktae battered the west coast last week. Visuals from Bengal’s Digha early this morning showed roads along the sea front already being flooded.
Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts are likely to be affected. In Bengal, West Midnapore, North and South 24 Parganas districts – and Kolkata – may experience stormy weather with wind speeds of up to 120 km per hour.
Nearly three lakh people have been evacuated from low-lying regions along the Odisha coast. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held emergency meetings Tuesday night to review preparations. Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said arrangements – including supply of oxygen and electricity – have been made for Covid hospitals in vulnerable regions.
Over 11.5 lakh people have been evacuated from places along the Bengal coast, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Tuesday, adding that she would spend the following two nights at her office – ‘Nabanna‘ – to closely monitor the impact of the Yaas and subsequent relief efforts.
Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport will be closed till 7.45 pm, the Airports Authority of India said last night. The Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar has been closed till at least 5 am Thursday. The Veer Surendra Sai Airport in Odisha’s Jharsuguda is shut till 7.45 pm Thursday. The Durgapur and Rourkela airports will stay closed today.
Indian Railways has announced the cancellation of at least 38 long-distance passenger trains headed to both Kolkata and southern states via to-be affected regions. These services will remain cancelled till Saturday, a Northeast Frontier Railways statement quoted by news agency ANI said. Passengers scheduled to travel on these trains will have ticket charges refunded.
The Indian Navy – which played a critical role in search and rescue efforts after Tauktae swept past the west coast last week – has made similar arrangements ahead of Yaas’ landfall. A Navy statement said INS Chilka would co-ordinate rescue and relief ops, and work with state agencies. All naval efforts will be supported by Eastern Naval Command Headquarters in Visakhapatnam.
The Army, meanwhile, has deployed 17 integrated relief columns in Bengal. Nine are in Kolkata and the rest are in Purulia, Birbhum, Bardhaman, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia and North 24 Parganas districts of the state. The columns are equipped to undertake evacuations, offer medical treatment, clear roads and distribute relief material, and will work with the local administration.
A record 115 National Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed. Visuals tweeted by agency chief SN Pradhan this morning showed NDRF teams already hard at work clearing roads of fallen branches or trees and evacuating people from coastal villages and towns.
At least two people have died – they were electrocuted – and 80 houses have been damaged in Bengal’s Hooghly and North 24 Parganas districts due to strong winds and heavy rainfall on Tuesday.
With input from ANI, PTI