Thousands to be evacuated from coastal villages as Bengal braces for Cyclone Remal | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Thousands to be evacuated from coastal villages as Bengal braces for Cyclone Remal

May 25, 2024 08:06 PM IST

The India Meteorological Department has warned that Remal is likely to make landfall around midnight on May 26 between Sagar Island in the southern tip of West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh

Thousands of people would be evacuated and brought to shelters from the vulnerable areas in the coastal villages of West Bengal as the eastern state braces for impact of severe Cyclone Remal around Sunday midnight, officials said.

Announcements were being made on loudspeakers in vulnerable areas and beach destinations to make the people aware of the approaching storm. (Representative Image)
Announcements were being made on loudspeakers in vulnerable areas and beach destinations to make the people aware of the approaching storm. (Representative Image)

The India Meteorological Department has warned that Remal is likely to make landfall around midnight on May 26 between Sagar Island in the southern tip of West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh.

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“We have already identified the low lying and vulnerable areas. Initially we plan to evacuate around 8,000-10,000 villagers from low lying areas. While some may move to the cyclone shelters by Saturday night, the rest would be brought in on Sunday,” said Sumit Gupta, district magistrate of South 24 Parganas.

West Bengal has a coastline of 157 km running through three coastal districts – South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore. The South 24 Parganas district is likely to be the hardest hit.

The IMD has issued a red warning (highest category of warning) for some districts such as South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Kolkata, Howrah and East Midnapore on Sunday.

“As of now, we may have to evacuate and shift around 25,000 people from the vulnerable areas in five sea facing blocks. The evacuation would take place on Sunday. The control room is working 24X7 and we are in constant touch with the IMD for updates,” said a senior official of East Midnapore.

Officials said that there may be heavy to very heavy rain in some areas. The coastal districts will be battered by winds speeding up to 100-110 km per hour with gusts up to 120 km per hour. In Kolkata the wind gusts could reach around 90 km per hour.

“There are four to five blocks which are vulnerable. The people living along the river embankments need to be evacuated first as there may be storm surge and water may gush into the villages. Evacuation is expected to start from Saturday night while most of them would be shifted to permanent shelters on Sunday,” said SK Dwivedi, district magistrate of North 24 Parganas.

While South 24 Parganas has around 115 multipurpose cyclone shelters, there are more than 100 such shelters in North 24 Parganas. East Midnapore has around 43 centres in five sea-facing blocks where the population is around 1.5 million.

Officials said that while the multi-purpose cyclone shelters have been kept ready, schools and other government buildings have been earmarked, where people may be shifted. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Diaster Response Force (SDRF) teams have already been deployed and relief materials such as food, drinking water and medicines were being stacked.

Announcements were being made on loudspeakers in vulnerable areas to make the people aware of the approaching storm. Announcements were also being made in beach destinations such as Digha, Mandarmani and Bakkhali.

“Around 900 school buildings in the district have been earmarked as cyclone shelters. But in view of polling on Saturday, some of the buildings could not be used to provide shelter to the evacuated people,” said an officer of East Midnapore district.

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