More than 1.1 million people evacuated lowland areas before the cyclone hit part of the east coast of India around noon
NEW DELHI – More than 1.1 million people evacuated lowland areas before the cyclone hit part of the east coast of India around Wednesday at noon.
Cyclone Yaas has already caused two deaths and damaged homes as harsh weather and rain hit the states of Odisha and West Bengal. A landing would follow around noon.
The “very strong cyclonic storm” maintained winds of 130-140 kilometers per hour (up to 87 mph), gusts up to 155 km / h (97 mph), the Indian Meteorological Department announced on Wednesday.
The tornado broke power lines that struck two people on Tuesday and damaged 40 houses in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, said the official of the elected top of the state, Mamata Banerjee.
Kolkata Airport was closed until 8 p.m., and rail services were canceled before the storm as a precaution, the railway department said.
The cyclone has erupted more than 17 centimeters of rain in the Chandabali and Paradip regions in the state of Odisha since Tuesday, the meteorological department announced. Tidal waves up to 4 meters (13 feet) are likely to flood some lowland areas.
At least 20 counties in the state of West Bengal were expected to feel the brunt of the storm. Fishermen’s huts and boats were told to take shelter.
A cyclone coming amid a devastating coronavirus outbreak is complicating India’s efforts to cope with both situations after another storm, Cyclone Tauktae, hit the west coast of India last week and killed more than 140 people.
Odisha’s chief minister Naveen Patnaik appealed to people who have been relocated to cyclone shelters to wear double masks and maintain social distancing. “We have to face both challenges at the same time,” Patnaik said.
Thousands of emergency personnel have been deployed to help evacuate people and prepare for possible rescue operations, said SN Pradhan, director of India’s National Disaster Response Force. The Indian Air Force and Navy were also on standby to carry out relief operations.
A year ago, the most powerful cyclone in more than a decade hit eastern India. Nearly 100 people died in Cyclone Amphan, which flattened villages and destroyed farms in eastern India and Bangladesh.
“We have not been able to repair the damage to our home since the last cyclone. Now another cyclone is coming, how are we going to stay here? said Samitri, who uses only one name.