Cyclone Yaas Hits North Odisha, Bengal On High Alert


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Cyclone Yaas Hits North Odisha, Bengal On High Alert: 10 Points

Cyclone Yaas: Nearly three lakh people have been evacuated from low-lying regions along the Odisha coast and around 11.5 lakh have been shifted from the Bengal coast

New Delhi: Cyclone Yaas will cross the coast between Odisha’s Dhamra and Balasore, which is 150 km south of Kolkata, in the next three hours with winds of up to 140 km per hour and gusts of 155 km per hour. At 9.15 am it was 40 km south-southeast of Balasore.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

Cyclone Yaas has begun landfall, the India Meteorological Department said at 9 am. The storm is moving north-northwest at about 17 km per hour and will cross the north Odisha and Bengal coast by noon as a ’very severe cyclonic storm’. Windspeeds will decrease to between 65 and 75 km per hour, with gusts up to 85 km per hour, by the evening.

Early morning visuals from Bengal’s Digha and South 24 Paraganas districts, and Odisha’s Kendrapara showed strong winds and waves, with some coastal areas already flooded and people wading through knee-deep water on roads along the sea front. A dramatic video from Ramnagar block in Bengal’s Purba Medinipur showed powerful waves pounding houses; the video seemed as if half the village had been dragged underwater, and the other half would be washed away by the next wave.

Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts are likely to be most badly 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.

Around 2.5 lakh people have been shifted from low-lying regions in Odisha. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held 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 she would spend the following two nights at her office - ’Nabanna’ - to monitor Yaas’ impact and subsequent relief efforts.

Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport will be closed till 7.45 pm. The Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar has been closed till 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. 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.

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