Cyclone Yaas landfall likely in Balasore; Odisha rushes relief teams
The Odisha government on Monday rushed a rescue and relief team to the Balasore district ahead of the landfall of Cyclone Yaas. Yaas is very likely to hit the Odisha-West Bengal coast between Paradip and Sagar Island around noon on May 26. By then, the storm will have likely intensified into a "very severe cyclonic storm" (wind speeds reaching 118-165 kmph).
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm moved north-northwestward at 12 kmph during the past six hours. At 8:30 pm, the cyclone lay centered about 420 km south-southeast of Paradip. It is likely to intensify into a "severe cyclonic storm" in the next six hours and into a "very severe cyclonic storm" in the subsequent 12 hours.
The IMD bulletin stated, "It would continue to move north-northwestwards near North Odisha and West Bengal coasts by 26th May early morning (2100 UTC of 25th-0000 UTC of 26th)." "It is very likely to cross North Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar Islands around Balasore during noon (0500-0700 UTC) of 26th May as a severe cyclonic storm," the bulletin added.
Preparing for Yaas, the Odisha government has rushed rescue and relief teams to Balasore. An official told PTI that a massive evacuation drive will be launched in all low-lying areas. The IMD has predicted tidal waves as high as 2-4.5 meters as the cyclone makes landfall. The Centre reviewed preparedness with the representatives of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal.
The Odisha government on Monday suspended COVID-19 testing, vaccination, along with door-to-door survey work in three districts: Balasore, Bhadrak, and Mayurbhanj. These districts also have over 1,000 active coronavirus cases and hence fall in red zones.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Centre of extending lesser aid to the state. While "smaller states" such as Odisha and Andhra Pradesh were given Rs. 600 crore each, while Bengal received Rs. 400 crore. Banerjee said her state, which is more densely populated, was facing "repeated discrimination." Meanwhile, Kolkata has decided to suspend all shipping movements from May 25.