Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022
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Under The Looming Shadow Of Cyclone Jawad, West Bengal Evacuates Thousands

In the last two years, West Bengal has witnessed three devastating twisters - Cyclone Bulbul in November 2019, Amphan in May 2020 and Yaas in May 2021, which left a trail of destruction and death.

Under The Looming Shadow Of Cyclone Jawad, West Bengal Evacuates Thousands
Under The Looming Shadow Of Cyclone Jawad, West Bengal Evacuates Thousands -

Unwilling to leave any chink in the armour, the West Bengal government evacuated about 18000 people in coastal South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts and asked tourists in sea resorts to stay away from beaches, even as the met department said that Cyclone Jawad, which looms large over the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast, will turn into a deep depression when it reaches Bengal and there will be only heavy rains in the Gangetic plains.

The weather office said several places in the metropolis, North and South 24 Parganas, Purba and Paschim Medinipur, Jhargram, Howrah and Hooghly districts have received light rainfall since Saturday morning.

The cyclone was about 210 km east-southeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), 320 km south of Gopalpur (Odisha), 390 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 470 km south-southwest of Paradip (Odisha) on Saturday afternoon, a Met department bulletin said.

The government has evacuated 17,900 people from the two coastal districts and opened at least 48 relief camps and shelters in the wake of the cyclone warnings, an official said on Saturday.

There is, however, little possibility of Jawad turning into a cyclonic storm when it reaches Bengal coastline on Sunday, said Alipore Met Office director Sanjib Bandopadhyay. "It will become a deep depression and trigger rains across south Bengal and heavy rains in some coastal areas. But the wind speed in the coastal areas will not exceed 55 km per hour," he said.

The weather department said that the cyclonic system is likely to move northwards, weaken gradually during the next 12 hours and then move north-northeastwards along Odisha coast, reaching near Puri around December 5 noon as a deep depression. Subsequently, it is likely to weaken further and continue to move north-northeastwards along Odisha coast towards West Bengal coast.

The administration has opened 115 multipurpose cyclone shelters, 135 additional temporary relief shelters to deal with any “emergency-like situation”, officials said. “We have kept everything ready to face any problem due to heavy rains or the cyclone for the next couple of days. We have left no stones unturned. Weekly offs and other holidays of all staff have been cancelled,” they said.

Vigilance has been tightened at the coasts and tourists and locals are being asked to stay away from the beaches in the sea resorts of Digha, Shankarpur, Tajpur, Mandarmoni and Bakkhali.

Nineteen National Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed in West Bengal and quick response teams of the state power and public works departments, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company (WBSEDCL) have been posted in crucial points, an official said.

Pouches of drinking water and relief materials like tarpaulins, food materials and medicines have already reached block development offices, he said.

While almost all fishermen have returned in Kakdwip, Digha and other coastal areas the authorities are coordinating with fishermen associations in coastal zones to find if anyone is still in the deep sea. "We are still searching in case there are anybody still inside the waters. Water police is continuing miking in case fishermen are still in the sea," he added.

Harvesting of 90 per cent of the crops have been completed and the the farmers have been asked to take preventive measures in the event of flooding of farmlands. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is constantly monitoring the situation and officials of the municipal bodies are on guard, state minister Firhad Hakim told reporters.

(With PTI Inputs)

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