Posted on May 18, 2020, 1:40 PM IST
The weather department has warned that Cyclone Amphan is slowly turning into a nightmarish "super cyclonic storm" this morning, hours after it intensified in to an "extremely severe cyclonic storm". Two states- Bengal and Odisha – are under its way, the storm is expected to make a landfall in Bengal on Wednesday. "The Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm 'AMPHAN' (pronounced as UM-PUN) intensified into Super Cyclonic Storm at 1130 IST of today, the 18th May, 2020 (sic)," the India Meteorological Department or IMD tweeted this afternoon. Heavy rains will be witnessed in Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya till Wednesday, apart from Odisha and Bengal, the IMD said in a statement. The landfall in Bengal is expected a time when the country is fighting against coronavirus, which has affected more than 96,000 people, killed more than 3,000.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to hold a meeting today at 4 pm to review the preparedness; Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted. "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 (sic)," he wrote.
A year after it was hit by Cyclone Fani, one of the worst storms in decades, Odisha is prepared to evacuate over 1 million people, according to the state officials. Twelve coastal districts - Ganjam, Gajapti, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khurda and Nayagarh - are under a close watch.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed the officials concerned to prepare a plan for relocating people living in vulnerable areas to safer places along with an early restoration of water supply and power infrastructure. The state has set a zero casualty target. "As always, saving lives is our priority. We should put our best efforts to save every precious human life," Mr Patnaik told top officials, according to news agency PTI.
Seventeen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are on duty in Odisha and Bengal. Seven teams have been deployed in six districts of Bengal and 10 teams are on duty in Odisha. Each team has 45 members.
On Saturday, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met under Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to review the preparedness for minimising the loss of lives and property.