PM Modi to hold meeting on Cyclone Yaas today; Army task forces on standby: 10 points
The states along India's eastern coast are gearing up for Cyclone Yaas, which is expected to make a landfall between north Odisha and Sundarbans (in West Bengal) on May 26. This comes days after Cyclone Tauktae - strongest in the Arabian Sea in over two decades - wreaked havoc on the western coast and claimed dozens of lives at a barge off Mumbai.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with senior government officials and representatives from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), secretaries from telecom, power, civil aviation and earth sciences ministries on Sunday to review preparations for the approaching cyclone, news agency ANI reported. Home ministers Amit Shah and other ministers will also attend the meeting.
A 22-member team of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) has been pressed into services by the state government in the wake of Cyclone Yaas. It has been asked to stockpile essential items and relocate people to local wind shelters.
Here are the latest developments on Cyclone Yaas ahead of its landfall:
- According to Mohapatra, state-of-the-art equipment has reached coastal district of Paradip to protect the trees and remove roadblocks. He also said that storm shelters are being prepared in the district.
- Another area of concern for officials is the spring tide, which coincides with the full moon. That too is falling on May 26. “During the spring tide, the water level in the sea and estuaries remains higher than normal and the tides are much higher. If the timing coincides with Cyclone Yaas, the storm surge would be much higher and devastating," said Tuhin Ghosh, director of the School of Oceanographic Studies at Jadavpur University.
- The Indian Army said on Saturday that it has arranged columns and engineer task forces are on standby for rescue and relief operations. The army has arranged two columns and two engineer task forces in Odisha and eight columns and one engineer task force in West Bengal. The navy too has kept four warships and a number of aircraft on standby.
- Northern Railway has cancelled over a dozen trains from the national capital to and from Bhubaneshwar and Puri in Odisha.
- A meeting of National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) - headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba - was held on Saturday to review preparedness for the cyclonic storm. The top bureaucrat of the country directed various agencies to ensure the safety of Covid-19 patients, hospitals and oxygen generation plants.
- West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee held a high-level meeting at the state secretariat on Saturday where she directed officials to evacuate people from coastal and riverine areas early.
- The Bengal government has set up a control room to monitor the situation, which will work round the clock. The chief minister said that she will stay at a control room.
- In Odisha, chief minister Naveen Patnaik directed officials to be careful and ensure that infection is not spread due to crowding at cyclone shelters. He also directed the chief secretary to regularly monitor cyclone preparedness and accordingly advise the district administration.
- Cyclone Yaas will likely intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and cross the Odisha and the West Bengal coasts on May 26, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD). GK Das, director of the IMD’s regional office in Kolkata, said that it is unlikely to match the intensity of Amphan, which hit India's eastern coast last year.
- Wind speed is very likely to reach 90 to 100 km per hour gusting to 110 kmph from May 26 forenoon along and off West Bengal, north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts and increase thereafter till May 26 evening, it added.