'Amphan' developed into a super cyclone over the Bay of Bengal on Monday and has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal when it makes landfall, the government had said.
Forty-one teams of the National Disaster Response Force, including seven reserves, have been deployed in West Bengal and Odisha in view of the impending super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’, its chief S N Pradhan said on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference here, Pradhan said Cyclone Amphan is a second disaster coming in the time of already prevailing COVID-19, hence preparations have been made to that scale.
“A total of 41 NDRF teams, including reserves, are deployed in two Amphan-affected states of Odisha and West Bengal,” he said.
Fifteen NDRF teams are deployed and five in reserve in seven districts of Odisha while 19 teams actively deployed and two in reserve in six West Bengal districts, he said.
The NDRF director general said Amphan will be extremely severe cyclonic storm when it makes a landfall on Wednesday and its hit potential remains strong.
“Hence, we have prepared according to that,” he said.
Due to social-distancing protocols in the wake of coronavirus, the cyclone rescue centres having a capacity to hold about 1,000 people will have only 400-500 locals, Pradhan said.
He said the NDRF has learnt from its experience of handling cyclone ‘Fani’, which hit Odisha in May 2019, and deployed tree and pole cutters in areas which are expected to be affected by ‘Amphan’.
“Wireless sets, quick deployment antennas, satellite phones and other communication equipment are also with our teams so that they are in touch with the headquarters in Delhi and also help the local administration in keeping their communication links working.”
“Our preparation is on par like dealing with a super cyclone like the one that hit the Odisha coast in 1999,” he said.
The officer added that the national crisis management committee (NCMC) met under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke with chief ministers of Odisha Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal Mamata Banerjee to review the preparedness of the impending cyclone.
There is full coordination between all the states and the Centre, he added.
The DG said four teams each in six other battalions of the force in Varanasi, Patna, Guwahati, Vijaywada, Arakkonam and Pune are on ‘hot standby’ to be airlifted on Indian Airforce planes for possible deployment in the two states.
‘Amphan’ developed into a super cyclone over the Bay of Bengal on Monday and has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal when it makes landfall, the government had said.
This is the second super cyclone over the Bay of Bengal in two decades.
The cyclone is expected to make landfall on the West Bengal coast on Wednesday afternoon between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya island in Bangladesh.