West Bengal is gearing up to prevent maximum disaster and loss of life due to the onset of the cyclone Amphan. The cyclone will be termed as an extremely severe cyclonic storm when it makes landfall on Wednesday between Digha in East Midnapore and Hatiara Island in Bangladesh. Kolkata and its neighbouring districts will too face a strong impact due to the storm.
Heavy to very heavy rains along with squally winds are expected in Kolkata and the districts. The cyclone which is travelling south-west of the Bay of Bengal at a speed of 75-85km/hr from Wednesday morning will increase up to 110-130km/hr till Wednesday afternoon. The wind speed can be as high as 185km/hr in North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts on Wednesday.
Deputy Director-General of MET Department in Kolkata, Sanjeevn Bandhopadhyay said, “Maximum damage will be witnessed in East Midnapore district, followed by South 24 Parganas and then Kolkata. The super cyclone will then travel to North 24 Paragans, Hoogly and West Midnapore districts which will also be impacted.”
Advisories have been issued for markets and beaches to remain shut to prevent minimum destruction. No fishermen are being allowed to stay in the Bay of Bengal and all have been ordered to return to land. Ferry services too will be shut as a preventive measure. Almost one lakh people have been shifted to cyclone centres from all coastal areas. The MET department is worried about the extent of the damage, as this is expected to be stronger than earlier cyclones that have hit West Bengal including cyclone Aila and Bulbul in the last few years.
Three teams for North 24 Parganas' Dhamkhali, Hasnabad and Hingalganj, 6 teams for South 24 Parganas 'Kakdwip, Pathar Pratima, Kakdwip, Sagar Island, Namkhana and Basanti, 4 teams for the district of Purba Medinipur, 1 team each for Hoogly's Arambagh area, Uluberia in Howrah and 4 teams have been put on standby in Kolkata.
All these teams have inflatable rubber boats with OBMs and equipment like woods, concrete and iron cutting, equipment related to flood rescue and collapse structure search. Along with rescue EQPTs, the biological suits for COVID-19 and other related equipment like a deep-diving set, etc.