Two people were killed and over 21 lakh evacuated from low-lying areas as cyclone Bulbul made a landfall on Sunday (November 10) between Sagar Islands of West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh, ravaging southwestern coastlines alongside India’s West Bengal, before weakening into a deep depression.
Cyclone Bulbul has currently moved northeastwards with a speed of 14 kmph, about 180 km northeast of Sagar Islands, said a bulletin released by the IMD.
A 65-year-old man died after a tree collapsed on his house in southwestern Patuakhali, Bangladesh in the wee hours on Sunday as the cyclone battered the coastal district. In a similar incident, a man died in Khulna as the cyclone damaged hundreds of houses and standing crops on hectares of land.
However, the damages caused by the cyclone were less than what it was feared, officials said.
Bangladeshi authorities ordered a temporary ban on the movement of ferries and boats in internal river routes alongside all fishing boats and trawlers over the northern part of Bay of Bengal, where the storm originated initially in the form of low pressure.
Disaster ministry secretary Shah Kamal said they initially planned to evacuate 14 lakh people to 5,000 cyclone shelters, however by Saturday midnight, the figure rose to over 21 lakh.
Meanwhile, two deaths were reported from West Bengal and Odisha. A man was killed at a club in upmarket Ballygunge Place area when a tree was uprooted and fell on him during the squally weather.
In Odisha, one person died due to a reported rain-related wall collapse at Kendrapara district and the matter was being enquired, special relief commissioner, Odisha, P K Jena said.
Around 4,000 people have so far been evacuated in Odisha from vulnerable and low-lying areas in some coastal regions of the state and shifted to 47 cyclone shelters, officials said.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the rough seas in Odisha and West Bengal coastal regions in view of the cyclonic storm, said Bargotra, who is the Commander Coast Guard Region (North East).
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said during the day 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation after the cyclone which brought heavy rains in parts of Odisha and West Bengal. He tweeted that he spoke to the West Bengal chief minister and assured her of all possible assistance from the centre.
Reviewed the situation in the wake of cyclone conditions and heavy rain in parts of Eastern India.
Spoke to WB CM @MamataOfficial regarding the situation arising due to Cyclone Bulbul. Assured all possible assistance from the Centre. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 10, 2019
In Delhi, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country’s apex body to handle any emergency, on Saturday reviewed the preparedness to deal with the very severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’ over the Bay of Bengal. The NCMC meeting was headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba. “Due to very severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’, operations at Kolkata airport is being suspend from 1800 hours on November 9 up to 0600 hours on November 10,” a home ministry official said in the national capital.
“Personnel of the Indian Coast Guard are in all readiness to tackle any eventuality in the wake of cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’. Ships have been moved to safer locations at Paradip, Dhamra and Sagar Island coasts,” Inspector General of Coast Guard, Rajan Bargotra told news agency PTI.
Deputy Inspector General S R Dash, who is Commander of Coast Guard, West Bengal, said three disaster management teams have been stationed at Haldia and two at Fraserganj in 24 Parganas district for timely action. “We are trying to achieve zero casaulty,” Dash said.
Three IN ships at Visakhapatnam are standby with relief material embarked for immediate deployment to the most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR) operation, Defence sources said. Additionally, 10 diving and medical teams are also kept ready for augmenting rescue and relief efforts in Odisha and West Bengal.
Naval aircraft are kept ready at Naval Air station, INS Dega to undertake aerial survey of the most affected areas, casualty evacuation and airdrop of relief material as required by the state administration. Naval Officers-in-Charge, West Bengal and Odisha are in constant liaison with respective state administrations for rendering assistance as required, they added.
(With inputs from agencies)