PM Modi to chair meeting on cyclone Amphan

IMD warned that cyclone Amphan intensified into an extremely severe storm on Monday and is all set to unleash heavy rains coupled with high-velocity winds in coastal Odisha

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Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed officials to prepare a plan for relocating people living in vulnerable areas to safer places. Representational image: iStock.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a high-level meeting on Monday (May 18) afternoon to review the situation arising out of cyclone Amphan, which is likely to hit the eastern coast.

Union Minister Amit Shah said the Prime Ministers meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the National Disaster Management Authority will take place at 4 pm. “To review the arising cyclone situation in various parts of the country, PM @narendramodi ji will chair a high level meeting with MHA & NDMA, today at 4pm,” Shah tweeted. The Prime Minister is the chairman of the NDMA.

In an advisory to West Bengal and Odisha governments, the ministry said Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) is now spotted over the central parts of South Bay of Bengal and the adjoining central Bay of Bengal. It has been moving nearly northwards with a speed of 13 kmph during past six hours and lay centred at 0530 hours IST on Monday, the ministry said.

Earlier, IMD warned that cyclone Amphan intensified into an extremely severe storm on Monday and is all set to unleash heavy rains coupled with high-velocity winds in coastal Odisha, prompting the state government to prepare for the possible evacuation of 11 lakh people.

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The extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan, moving with a speed of 13 kmph over west central and adjoining central parts of south Bay of Bengal, is likely to gain more strength and intensify further into a super cyclonic storm in the next 12 hours, the IMD said.

The high-velocity winds may cause extensive damage to mud houses and partial damage to pucca structures, it said. The winds may also lead to bending or uprooting of power and communication poles, minor disruption of railways and may affect overhead power lines and signalling systems and also cause widespread damage to standing crops, plantations, orchards, the IMD said.

Amphan lays centred around 790 km south of Paradip in Odisha, 940 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal and 1060 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh, said H R Biswas, Director of the Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar. It is very likely to move north-northeastwards across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal Bangladesh coasts between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh during the afternoon or evening of May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph, he said.

IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that northern parts of Odisha are likely to be more affected due to the cyclone. Coastal districts like Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore are likely to experience heavy rainfall accompanied by high-velocity winds, particularly on May 19 and 20, he said.

Related news: 37 NDRF teams to combat dual challenge of cyclone Amphan, COVID-19: DG

Biswas said coastal Odisha is likely to experience light to moderate rainfall in many places from the evening of May 18 with heavy rain in some places in coastal Odisha districts like Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), P K Jena said the district collectors of Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khurda and Nayagarh have been asked to remain in a state of preparedness for evacuating people from vulnerable areas whenever necessary. “Greater attention is being given to the four districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore. We are keeping a close watch on these districts as the areas are likely to be more vulnerable,” he said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed officials to prepare a plan for relocating people living in vulnerable areas to safer places along with an early restoration of affected road communication, drinking water supply, electricity, infrastructure and power supply to hospitals.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) on Saturday reviewed the preparedness for the impending cyclone and directed immediate assistance to West Bengal and Odisha, which are likely to hit by the storm. A meeting of the NCMC, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, was held to take stock the preparations for the cyclone.

The cabinet secretary took stock of the current situation and preparedness for rescue and relief operations and directed that immediate assistance, as required, be provided, an official statement had said. Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, accompanied by high speed winds and tidal waves are expected in the region.

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