21 years later, Bengal, Odisha prep for another Super Cyclone, this time Amphan
Cyclone Amphan has now intensified into a super cyclonic storm on Monday and is likely to move across the northeast Bay of Bengal, and cross the West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts between Digha and the Hatia Island on May 20, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
‘Amphan’ (pronounced UM-PN) that had turned into an extremely severe cyclonic storm gathered more strength over the Bay of Bengal while moving slowly towards the coast. It has now intensified further into a super cyclonic storm likely to make landfall on Wednesday, the IMD has indicated.
The IMD has warned that the cyclone could ravage east Medinipur, south and north 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata districts in West Bengal. Twenty-one years ago, in 1999, another super cyclonic storm had ravaged large parts of Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal. It had taken Odisha, a number of months to repair the extensive damage that the Super Cyclone had caused back then.
The state is expected to face extensive damage in the storm that is likely to uproot communication and power poles. It said the Cyclone Amphan could also disrupt rail and road links in many places in Bengal and Odisha and inflict extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards.
Ahead of Cyclone Amphan making landfall, Odisha has urged the Centre to temporarily suspend ‘Shramik Special’ trains passing through areas falling in the direction of the storm. The Odisha government also announced that it will shift migrant workers lodged in various quarantine centres near the coast to safer places.
Tracking Cyclone Amphan’s movement in 10 points:
1. Cyclone Amphan is likely to move north-northeastwards and rapidly across the northwest Bay of Bengal, and cross the West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts between Digha and the Hatia Island as a very severe super cyclonic storm.
2. This has raised the possibility of heavy rains and high-velocity winds in coastal Odisha and Bengal and the state governments have initiated the process of evacuating people from vulnerable areas.
3. Cyclone Amphan is likely to have a wind speed of up to 185 km per hour on Wednesday, the Union Home Ministry has said in its latest update.
4. Heavy rainfall warnings have been issued by the IMD for Gajapati, Puri, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, and Kendrapara. On Tuesday, the rainfall activity is likely to increase in Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajapur, Mayurbhanj, Khurja and Cuttack in Odisha.
5. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea till May 21, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena has said. The IMD has issued a warning to suspend all fishing activity in Bengal and Odisha till May 20.
6. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has enhanced its strength to a total of 37 teams, with the addition of 20 more, to combat the dual challenge of Cyclone Amphan and the coronavirus pandemic, the chief of the federal contingency force said on Monday. 37 teams have been deployed by NDRF in West Bengal and Odisha, out of which 20 teams are actively deployed and 17 are on standby in the two states. On Sunday, the force had earmarked 17 teams for the task.
7. The NDRF is fully prepared with all the paraphernalia to face Cyclone Amphan which has turned into a super cyclonic storm by Monday and will continue to be so for some time, NDRF Director General S N Pradhan said. In Odisha, the deployment of the force is in seven districts and in West Bengal in six districts so far.
8. The Odisha government is in the process of evacuating people from low-lying areas in 12 districts including 6 coastal ones due to the approaching super cyclonic storm.
9. The impending cyclone has forced the Indian Railways to divert the route for its Bhubaneswar-New Delhi-Bhubaneswar AC Special trains running from Bhubaneswar between May 19 and 22. The trains will now travel via Bhubaneswar-Angul-Sambalpur City-Jharsuguda-Rourkela-Tata route, bypassing the Bhadrak-Balasore-Hijli route.
10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also discuss the super cyclonic storm in a high-level meeting on Monday to review the situation and preparedness.
With Amphan turning into a super cyclone, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has geared up to make necessary arrangements for the cyclonic spell that is expected to make landfall on Wednesday. The Bengal government has said that special arrangements have been made by deploying specialised disaster management teams at Sagar Island and Kakdweep in South 24-Parganas district in Bengal.