NCMC reviews preparedness of WB, Odisha to deal with Cyclone ‘Amphan’

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), under the Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, met for the second time on Monday to discuss the preparedness and requirements to deal with impending super cyclone ‘Amphan’ in West Bengal and Odisha.

The super cyclone is expected to cross between Digha island in West Bengal and Hatiya island in Bangladesh close to Sundarbans on May 20 with maximum sustained wind speed of 165-175 km per hour gusting to 195 kmph.

The weather agency has issued an orange alert for coastal West Bengal and Odisha, where it said widespread damage is expected. It will cause heavy rainfall, accompanied by squally winds and storm surges in the coastal districts of the two states.

Officers of the state governments concerned apprised the NCMC of preparatory measures taken by them. They also assured that adequate stocks of food grains, drinking water and other essential supplies and services are available with them.

NDRF has deployed 26 teams in Odisha and West Bengal and additionally teams are enroute to these states. The teams are equipped with boats, tree cutters, telecom equipment etc. Rescue and relief teams of the Army and Navy along with ships and aircrafts of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard have been put on standby.

Reviewing the preparedness of the states and central agencies, the Cabinet Secretary directed that all necessary measures be taken to complete evacuation of people from low lying areas in cyclone path and maintain adequate quantities of essential supplies such as food, drinking water and medicines etc.

Agencies were directed to prevent disruptions to power and telecommunications services. He said that a free facility of targeted SMSs to warn the people of the cyclone and intra circle roaming should be provided.

Gauba also assured that assistance will be provided to the states from the Central government immediately.

The directions came after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned of wide-spread damage to kutcha and old or damaged pucca constructions, uprooting of communications and power transmission poles, disruption of rail and road links and damage to crops and plantations. Large boats, ships could also get torn from moorings.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Monday said that as many as 53 teams are deployed, including those on standby, in West Bengal and Odisha to deal with the “dual challenge” of both impending Super Cyclone ‘Amphan’ and COVID-19.

Addressing a press briefing, its Director General Satya Narayan Pradhan said: “In West Bengal, a total of 19 teams are deployed, and four teams are on standby. In Odisha, 13 are deployed and 17 are on standby. While some NDRF teams are in the area, some are in transit and will reach by today or tomorrow morning.”

Besides this, six battalions of NDRF are also kept on standby and will be brought to the two states by IAF’s C-130 transport aircraft, if and when required.

The storm is likely to impact the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore in Odisha and East Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogly, and Kolkata in West Bengal.

The Super Cyclonic Storm over west central and adjoining central parts of south Bay of Bengal is moving nearly northwards with a speed of 11 kmph during past six hours and lay centred at about 700 km nearly south of Odisha’s Paradip, 860 km south-southwest of West Bengal’s Digha and 980 km south-southwest of Bangladesh’s Khepupara.

–IANS

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