Super cyclone Amphan, which has weakened slightly, is expected to make landfall between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (MD) said on Tuesday evening.
About 3,35,000 people in West Bengal and Odisha have been evacuated.
On Tuesday evening, the cyclone lay about 360 km south of Paradip in Odisha and 510 km south-southwest of Digha. According to the IMD's current estimate, Amphan would temper down to a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ when it makes landfall. However, it would continue to generate strong winds at 155-165 kmph and inflict severe damage on the Odisha and West Bengal coasts.
Telephone towers, powerlines, thatched huts and buildings with weak foundations are likely to be damaged and hoardings could become “flying like projectiles,” Director-General IMD M Mohapatra warned at a press conference.
Very high wind speeds ranging up to 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph are expected, accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surges of 4-5 metres in the coastal districts of the West Bengal. Districts of East Medinipur, South & North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata are expected to be impacted, he added.
35 NDRF teams
The State government has evacuated about 3,00,000 perople from the coastal districts. “Do not venture out till the storm moves away. Many times it is the tail of the cyclone that causes maximum destruction,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told residents.
Odisha said 35,000 people were moved to cyclone shelters while field level staff were shifting people to identified shelters.
36 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in both States. Rescue and relief teams of the Army and Navy along with ships and aircraft of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard have been put on standby. Officials from agencies of the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Power have also been deployed to ensure maintenance of essential services, said a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Odisha government has deployed 16 units of the NDRF and 15 units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force. Four districts — Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur — were likely to be severely affected.
As many as 75 teams of Odisha Forest Development Corporation are in place to remove fallen and damaged trees while 340 gangs will carry out repairs of damaged power lines. For drinking water, more than 800 vehicles loaded with tanks have been kept ready.
Of those evacuated in West Bengal, 200,000 are from South 24 Paraganas particularly from the Sunderbans. Teams of NDRF, State Disaster Response Force and BSF have been deployed at various districts.
(With inputs from Satya Sundar Barik & Shiv Sahay Singh)