Cyclone Amphan: Landfall began at 2:30 pm, says IMD
The landfall of cyclone Amphan, the extremely severe cyclonic storm, started at 2:30 pm and will go on for four hours, the director of IMD Bhubaneswar said. The cyclone weakened from "super cyclone" but its intensity is still disastrous. IMD said the cyclone will affect fragile dwellings and uproot trees. Odisha and Bengal were put on alert. Here are more details.
Rains lashed both states, dark clouds were seen
As the cyclone moved towards the Indian coast, heavy rains lashed parts of Bengal and Odisha. Visuals from the states showed high-intensity winds battering areas like Paradip in Odisha and South 24 Paraganas in Bengal. In Bengal, over 3 lakh have been evacuated and taken to shelter homes. From 13 vulnerable districts of Odisha, more than 1 lakh were taken to shelter homes too.
Flyovers shut in Kolkata; special train canceled
At least 12 NDRF teams were kept on stand-by. Over 40 NDRF teams were sent to Odisha and Bengal to tackle the impending crisis. In Bengal's capital, Kolkata, all flyovers and elevated corridors were shut. A special train, slated to leave Himachal Pradesh for Bengal, was canceled. The government started running Shramik trains from May 1, to ferry migrant workers to their home states.
Here are the visuals from the spot
West Bengal: Under influence of super cyclonic Storm #CycloneAmphan, Kolkata, adjoining coastal districts experiencing rains since last night . Special vigil has been kept at Sundarbans , sea town Digha , Bakkhali , Sagar Island and Hingalgunj areas. pic.twitter.com/SbskzKEdgG— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) May 20, 2020
500 are being accommodated in shelter homes to ensure distancing
Cyclone Amphan is the worst cyclone to have been formed over the Bay of Bengal since 1999. 21 years ago, the Super Cyclone ravaged Odisha, killing 9,887. This time around, the authorities are dealing with a dual challenge — a severe cyclone and coronavirus. NDRF Chief SN Pradhan said only 500 are being accommodated in shelter homes, to ensure social distancing.
Odisha took over 1,600 pregnant women to safe places
The Odisha government gave special attention to pregnant women, shifting over 1,600 to hospitals. The maximum number, 553, were taken to hospitals in Balasore, followed by 320, who were shifted to facilities in Kendrapara. Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said authorities were asked to identify pregnant women, with the help of ASHA workers, and shift them to health-care centers, community centers, or district headquarters.
Bangladesh reported first death due to the cyclone
Before the landfall started, the cyclone took its first victim in Bangladesh. As per reports, a Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteer, who was helping in the evacuation of villagers, lost his life when a boat capsized. "There were four of them on the boat when it sank," informed Nurul Islam Khan, director of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme of the Bangladesh Red Crescent.
One dead in Odisha but cause unknown
Meanwhile, Jena said one casualty was reported from Bhadrak, prompting authorities to visit the area. The exact cause of death will be ascertained later. "Another death occurred yesterday. It is not a cyclone-related death as of now," he said. He also informed that the cyclone has moved down from its originally forecast path. "It has already crossed Paradip, Kendrapara, and Dhamra," he added.