Cyclone Yaas: Over 11.5 lakh people evacuated in West Bengal

Kolkata: Over 11.5 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable places in West Bengal on Tuesday in view of the impending cyclone Yaas, informed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Meanwhile, two persons were electrocuted and at least 80 houses were damaged in Hooghly and North 24 Parganas districts due to strong winds and heavy rainfall on Tuesday at the onset of cyclone Yaas.

To monitor the cyclonic situation and relief work, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will stay at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ on May 25 and May 26.

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Briefing the mediapersons at state secretariat ‘Nabanna’, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “In view of Cyclone Yaas, 11.5 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas to safe shelters. In the impact of the strong winds, 40 houses were damaged in Halisahar with 4-5 people sustained injuries. 40 houses were damaged in Chuchura.

Unfortunately, two people have died due to lightning in Pandua.”

According to the Chief Minister’s Office, 74 thousand employees of the state government have been engaged in the relief work. The evacuated people are kept at more than 8,000 flood shelters and schools.

Several houses and electricity poles were damaged and trees uprooted in Naihati and Halisahar of North 24 Paragans district due to the strong winds that hit the region earlier on Tuesday evening. Local police personnel were present at the site.

There was an increase in water level in the sea in Shankarpur-Digha Beach, while heavy rain and strong winds continue to be there in the coastal region.

Earlier on Tuesday, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar visited the Regional Meteorological Centre to review preparations in the wake of Cyclone Yaas. “I appeal to everyone not to take the MET Department’s advisory lightly. NGOs should also come forward to help the needy with appropriate relief,” he said after visiting the office.”

“The irrigation department is fully prepared. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered all departments to stay alert for Cyclone Yaas. This is not the first time we are facing a cyclone. Houses, where water has entered, will be removed,” West Bengal Irrigation and Waterways Minister Soumen Kumar Mahapatra told ANI.

Meanwhile, the Kolkata Airport informed about the suspension of flight operation on Wednesday from morning to evening.

“In view of the weather warning issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) over Cyclone Yaas, flight operations at Kolkata Airport will be suspended from 8.30 am to 7.45 pm on May 26, 2021. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” said the Kolkata Airport authorities.

Railways also announced the cancellation of 38 long-distance South-bound and Kolkata-bound passenger trains in view of the impending cyclone.

“38 long-distance South-bound and Kolkata-bound passenger trains will remain cancelled from May 24 to May 29. Railways will refund the ticket charges to the passengers,” informed Northeast Frontier Railway.

The Defence Ministry has deployed Army columns with high-end equipment in several districts for post-cyclone relief work.

“17 integrated Cyclone Relief Columns of Army, comprising specialised personnel with associated equipment and inflatable boats have been deployed. Columns have been prepositioned at Purulia, Jhargram, Birbhum, Bardhaman, West Midnapur, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. Nine Cyclone Relief columns have also been kept on standby at Kolkata for redeployment as necessary in West Bengal at short notice,” said the Defence Ministry.

The IMD on Tuesday predicted that the cyclonic storm Yaas is going to intensify into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ in the next 12 hours.

“The severe cyclonic storm Yaas over the east-central Bay of Bengal moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 9 kmph during the past six hours. It is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours. It would continue to move north-northwestwards, intensify further and reach the northwest Bay of Bengal near North Odisha and West Bengal coasts by May 26 early morning,” the weather agency said. 

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