Cyclone Bulbul crosses West Bengal, moves towards Bangladesh

Villagers collect their belongings from the remnants of their house in the aftermath of cyclone Bulbul, at Bakkhali, in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, Sunday. Photo: PTI.

Cyclonic storm Bulbul which made a landfall near Sagar Island of West Bengal on late Saturday night has now moved towards Bangladesh.

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) the cylone lies centrered around 75 km east-northeast of Sundarban National Park in West Bengal and is likely to weaken into a deep depression over coastal Bangladesh in the next few hours.

At least five people were killed in rain-related incidents in Kolkata and North 24 Parganas district since Saturday, according to official reports. At least one death has been reported in Odisha.

Keeping the safety of citizens in mind, Bangladesh authorities have ordered the evacuation of about 18 lakh people from low-lying coastal villages and islands. Officials of Bangladesh’s disaster management ministry said thousands of people have already been moved to safe shelters as the evacuation process was underway particularly in 10 southwestern coastal districts, which are likely to face the maximum brunt of Cyclone Bulbul.

Villagers make through a flooded area following cyclone Bulbul in West Bengal. Photo: PTI

IMD in its bulletin said that light to moderate rainfall at many places including south Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram is expected during the next 24 hours.

In Odisha and West Bengal, around 21 lakh people were evacuated from vulnerable and low-lying areas in some coastal regions of the state and shifted to shelters, officials said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said she is monitoring the situation and the administration has taken all measures to tackle any contingency in view of cyclone Bulbul. She appealed to citizens to maintain calm and not to panic.

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday and assured her of all help from the central government in rescue and relief operations in affected areas.

The home minister said 10 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in West Bengal and six teams in Odisha for evacuation as well as resoration of roads and distribution of relief materials.

A policeman stands next to damaged Fraserganj Coastal Police Station along a beach in the aftermath of cyclone Bulbul in West Bengal on Sunday. Photo: PTI

An additional 18 teams of NDRF have been kept on standby, he added. “Reviewed the situation in the wake of cyclone conditions and heavy rain in parts of eastern India,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

Modi said he also spoke with Banerjee regarding the situation arising due to the cyclone. “Assured all possible assistance from the Centre. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being,” he said.

Shah too tweeted that he has been closely monitoring the situation. “We are continuously in touch with central and state relief agencies. Have spoken to CM @MamataOfficial and have assured all possible help. I pray to almighty for those who are braving out this adverse weather,” he said.

(With inputs from agencies)