Cyclone Remal makes landfall; one lakh evacuated in Bengal

Modi chairs review meet; the storm has resulted in disruptions in air, rail, and road transportation in Kolkata and other parts of south Bengal

Updated - May 27, 2024 07:10 am IST

Published - May 26, 2024 11:14 pm IST - Kolkata:

NDRF and Block Disaster Management personnel make announcements as part of precautionary measures, ahead of the landfall of Cyclone ‘Remal’, in South 24 Parganas district.

NDRF and Block Disaster Management personnel make announcements as part of precautionary measures, ahead of the landfall of Cyclone ‘Remal’, in South 24 Parganas district. | Photo Credit: PTI

The severe cyclonic storm Remal started its landfall process between Sagar Island in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh around 9.15 p.m. on Sunday, as it intensified and moved northwards. By 11.30 p.m., the eye of the cyclone touched the land.

The West Bengal administration has evacuated people from low-lying and coastal areas of South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur to storm shelters. By 3 p.m., over one lakh people were shifted from coastal and vulnerable areas.

Also read:Cyclone Remal Highlights

The storm has resulted in disruptions in air, rail, and road transportation in Kolkata and other parts of south Bengal.

Eastern and Southeastern Railways cancelled several trains for Sunday and Monday. Ferry services in Kolkata and the Sundarbans had been suspended. The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport suspended flight operations for 21 hours from Sunday noon, affecting 394 flights in both international and domestic sectors.

The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata suspended cargo and container handling operations for 12 hours from Sunday evening.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review response and preparedness for the cyclonic storm, while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged people to stay safe and remain indoors.

Governor C.V. Ananda Bose also called an emergency meeting at the Raj Bhawan to ascertain cyclone preparedness. Kolkata and adjoining areas received heavy rainfall and gusty winds. Gale winds with speeds of 80 kmph to 100 kmph hit coastal areas of Digha; Haldia in East Medinipur; and Sagar, Fraserganj, Dhamakhali, Kakdwip and other coastal areas of South 24 Parganas.

Issuing a red alert cyclone warning for the State coastline, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Remal would have a maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph.

A red alert for heavy (7-11 cm) to very heavy rain (12-20 cm) was issued for a few places over North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, East Midnapore, Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly districts.

Extremely heavy rain (over 20 cm) at one or two places is very likely over North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.

A red alert has been issued for fishermen, advising them not to venture into the sea till Monday.

Somenath Dutta, Director of the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore in Kolkata, told mediapersons that though Remal was likely to wreak havoc along the West Bengal coastline, the damage would be less than what Amphan caused, ravaging south Bengal in May 2020.

The IMD has predicted a storm surge of about 1 metre above astronomical tide, which is likely to inundate low-lying areas of coastal West Bengal around the time of landfall. There were reports of a breach of embankments in the Gosaba area of South 24 Parganas.

At Hingalganj in North 24 Parganas, the local panchayat urged people to join in immediate embankment repairs. As the region received heavy rainfall in many areas, people joined to repair the embankments. With the funds under the MGNREGS being stopped, the embankments in the Sundarbans have not been repaired for the past two years.

Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim expressed the hope that waterlogging would be cleared in four to five hours.

Fourteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force and teams of the State Disaster Response Force have been deployed in coastal areas. The Navy has readied two ships equipped with humanitarian assistance, and disaster response and medical supplies. Several ships of the Coast Guard are in standby mode and Dornier aircraft have been making sorties to alert any vessel along the coast.

Campaign suspended

The campaign by major political parties for the seventh and last phase of the Lok Sabha polls was cancelled owing to the inclement weather conditions. The roadshow of Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee at Metaibruz in Kolkata was called off. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s roadshow from Narendrapur to Sonarpur was also cancelled because of the cyclone.

Political events of BJP leaders Sukanta Majumdar and Suvendu Adhikari were cancelled at Sandeshkhali and Mathurapur. Nine Lok Sabha seats in Kolkata and adjoining areas, including the Sundarbans will go to the polls on June 1 in the last phase of polling.

Also read: Cyclone Remal LIVE updates

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