Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed preparedness of states and Central ministries and concerned agencies on Monday to deal with the situation arising out of the Super Cyclonic Storm ”Amphan”.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, along with senior officers and functionaries of the IMD, NDMA and NDRF were also present in the review meeting.
Prime Minister Modi has directed that all necessary measures be taken to complete evacuation of people from areas in the cyclone path and maintain adequate quantities of essential supplies.
“All concerned have been advised to make adequate preparations to ensure maintenance of essential services such as power, telecommunications in the event of damages caused to them and also to review their preparedness well in time and ensure quick resumption of services in the event of any disruption,” said a government statement released after the review meeting.
Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. Army and Air Force units in these states have also been put on standby.
Moreover, NDRF has deployed 25 teams in Odisha and West Bengal. Additionally 12 teams have been kept on standby. The teams are equipped with requisite materials like boats, tree cutters, telecom equipment.
The MHA is in continuous touch with the state governments.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already informed that the Super Cyclone is expected to make a landfall on West Bengal coast in the afternoon of May 20 as an extremely severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds ranging up to 195 kilometers per hour. It is expected to cause heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of the state.
In West Bengal, districts of East Medinipur, South & North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata are likely to be the worst affected. The storm is also likely to impact coastal districts of north Odisha including Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore.
The IMD has warned of storm surge of about 4-5 meter wave height above the astronomical tide, which would inundate low lying coastal areas of South & North 24 Parganas, and 3-4 meters wave height in East Medinipur, districts of West Bengal at the time of landfall. The cyclone has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal.
The District Collectors of cyclone Amphan vulnerable areas had started evacuating people as the cyclone was likely to make landfall between West Bengal and Bangladesh on May 20, said the Odisha government, here on Monday.
“As per the latest report from the Collectors, evacuation of people from vulnerable areas has started. We are targeting to complete all evacuation work by tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena.
About 600 multi-purpose cyclone shelters and 7,092 other permanent buildings with cumulative capacity to accommodate nearly 12 lakh people have been identified in 12 districts.
It has also been directed to arrange adequate food, drinking water, lighting, sanitation and health facility at each shelter and keep the tower light and chainsaw and other emergency equipment ready to meet any eventuality.
Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said the government was taking all the measures even though cyclone Ampan might not make landfall in the state. “Given our past experiences, we are not taking it lightly. Preparations are in full swing to meet any eventuality,” he said.
The government has deputed four senior IAS officers and equal number of IPS officers to four coastal districts to provide guidance and support to the district administrations in the cyclone Amphan management.
Transport Secretary Madhu Sudan Padhi, Chief Electoral Officer Sushil Kumar Lohani, Industries Secretary Hemant Sharma and Higher Education Secretary Saswat Mishra have been deputed to Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, respectively.
Similarly, IPS officers Diptesh Kumar Pattanayak, Ghanashyam Upadhyay, Asish Kumar Singh and Jai Narayan Pankaj have been deputed to Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, respectively.
Jena said 20 teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 19 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 335 units of the Fire and Disaster Management had been kept in readiness to be pressed into the service.
He said 13 NDRF, 15 ODRAF and 217 Fire Service teams had been positioned in 6 coastal and 5 nearby districts. The rest 11 (6 NDRF and 5 ODRAF) teams had been kept in standby to be pressed into the service, as per the requirement. 10 Fire Service Units with 100 people had also been kept in standby, he added.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), squally wind speed reaching 45-55 km/h gusting to 65 km/h is likely to hit the south Odisha coast from May 18 evening and increase to 55-65 km/h, gusting to 75 km/h and extend to along and off north Odisha coast from May 19 morning.
The wind speed will increase and would turn into gale reaching 75-85 km/h gusting to 95 km/h from May 20 morning along and off north Odisha coast (Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj.
It would gradually increase to 110-120 km/h, gusting to 135 km/h along and off the districts of north Odisha, said the IMD.
With super cyclone ”Amphan soon to hit India, the Indian Metrological Department has advised a complete shutdown of shipping and boating activities in parts of West Bengal and Odisha till May 20.
IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra while addressing a press briefing said, “We have advised a complete shutdown of shipping and boating till May 20.”
He added that the weather department has also advised for rerouting or shutting down of rail and road traffic in some parts of the West Bengal and Odisha which the super cyclone is expected to hit.
“The super cyclone is likely to cause extensive damage to ”kuchcha” houses and old structures. Uprooting of trees, telephone poles, palm trees etc is also expected. Ships and large boats can be damaged heavily,” Mohapatra said.