Villagers shift to safe place from Bakkhali to save themselves from the impact of Cyclone Amphan, near Sunderbans area in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Villagers shift to safe place from Bakkhali to save themselves from the impact of Cyclone Amphan, near Sunderbans area in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Photo: PTI

On Wednesday afternoon, Cclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal, with the Kolkata and other districts seeing strong winds and pouring rain. There was also a thunderstorm in the evening.

Kolkata and other nearby areas saw winds travelling at more than 100 kmph, and in many areas it was reported that trees had fallen. The Free Press Journal's Prema Rajaram quoted sources to report that two people had died, one in Howrah and the other in Minakha.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been monitoring the situation, and will reportedly stay overnight at the at the control room in Nabanna,the state Secretariat in Kolkata to monitor the situation.

According to an update by the Indian Meteorological Department, Cyclone Amphan had crossed the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) across Sunderbans between 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm on May 20th, with a wind speed 155-165 gusting to 185 kmph.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reviewing arrangements during cyclone Amphan at a control room set up in her office building, in Kolkata on Wednesday
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reviewing arrangements during cyclone Amphan at a control room set up in her office building, in Kolkata on Wednesday
Photo: ANI

According to a PTI report, 20 units of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stationed in Odisha have been deployed in the state, while as many units have been pressed into service in West Bengal for relief and rescue efforts. Keeping the novel coronavirus outbreak in mind, the teams have been equipped with personal protective equipment.

Over five lakh people have been evacuated in West Bengal while over 1.58 lakh have been taken to safety in Odisha, NDRF Director General SN Pradhan said on Wednesday quoting data provided by the state governments, He said 20 teams have been deployed in West Bengal, including one team for urban areas of Kolkata, while another unit has been kept in reserve.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee confirmed on Wednesday evening that the death toll had reached 12. As she put it, "we are lucky we evacuated more than five lakh people yesterday".

Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said: "We expected the cyclone to make landfall between Digha and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh. But the cyclone ultimately changed course and hit Sagar and Gosaba islands in Sunderbans in South 24 Parganas district. The cyclone is now over North 24 Parganas district also after hitting Kolkata and Howrah."

While it had not veen forecast, Nadia, Purulia and Bankura districts too had witnessed heavy rainfall.

"We will begin restoration work when it is possible and go to area which are assessable," Sinha said

(With inputs from PTI)

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