Cyclone Amphan: NCMC stresses on timely evacuation

New Delhi: The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, in its third meeting on Tuesday stressed on “timely and complete evacuation” of people from low lying areas coming in the path of cyclone ‘Amphan’ which is expected to impact West Bengal and Odisha coasts on Wednesday.

Reviewing the preparedness of the states and Central agencies, Gauba asked the state governments to ensure timely and complete evacuation of people from low lying areas and maintain adequate quantities of essential supplies such as food, drinking water and medicines, a Home Ministry statement said.

They were also advised that teams for road clearance and other restoration work be kept ready as very high wind speeds ranging up to 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph are expected accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surges of 4-5 metres in the coastal districts of the two states.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has stated in the meeting that ‘Amphan’ is expected to impact the West Bengal coast by May 20 afternoon or evening and districts of East Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata are expected to be impacted.

The damage potential of the cyclone is expected to be higher than that of cyclone ‘Bulbul’, which hit the West Bengal Coast on November 9 last year. The cyclone will also bring heavy rainfall, squally winds and storm surges in the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore in Odisha.

Chief Secretary Odisha and Additional Chief Secretary West Bengal apprised the NCMC of preparatory measures taken by them.

Attending the NCMC meeting through video conferencing, the officials of the two states informed that evacuation of people from the low lying areas was being carried out.

“All actions have been taken to stock food grains, drinking water and other essential supplies. Teams for maintenance and restoration of Power and Telecom services have also been positioned,” NCMC was informed.

It was apprised that 36 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were currently deployed in both the states, rescue and relief teams of the Army and Navy along with ships and aircrafts of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard had been put on standby. Officials from agencies of the department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Power are also deployed in the states to ensure maintenance of essential services.

Senior Officers from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, Shipping, Power, Telecommunications, Health, IMD, NDMA and NDRF also attended the meeting.NCMC will meet again to take stock of the emerging situation.The weather agency has issued an orange alert for coastal West Bengal and Odisha, where it said widespread damage is expected. The super cyclone Amphan is now being continuously tracked by the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) at Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).