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Cyclone Yaas hits Odisha and Bengal today

Almost 10 days after cyclone Tauktae hit India’s western coasts, a new ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ was developing over the Bay of Bengal, has hit the states of Odisha and West Bengal on May 26. The cyclone is expected to make a landfall at a wind speed of 155 to 185 mph, according to a statement from the Meteorological department.

The cyclone is being formed due to the creation of a low-pressure zone over the Bay of Bengal region, which will intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24. 

Who’s behind the naming of cyclone Yaas?

This cyclone originating over the Bay of Bengal region is named this time by Oman, under the cyclone naming guidelines by the World Meteorological Organisation. The word Yaas is similar in meaning to the english word Jasmine, something with a mild fragrance.

What regions would be impacted the most?

According to IMD’s prediction, the states of Odisha and West Bengal are likely to receive heavy rainfall along with high wind speeds, starting May 26th. The department also predicted what will be the route of the cyclone once it makes a landfall on the eastern coast of India. A series of tweets from the official twitter account of India Meteorological Department were posted on Sunday, which read- 

“The Well Marked Low-Pressure Area over East Central Bay of Bengal persists and the associated cyclonic circulation extending up to mid-tropospheric levels also persists. It is very likely to concentrate into a depression during the next 06 hours. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards, intensify into a Cyclonic Storm by 24th May and further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during subsequent 24 hours. It would continue to move north-northwestwards, intensify further and reach the north Bay of Bengal near West Bengal and adjoining north Odisha & Bangladesh coasts around 26th May morning. It is very likely to cross West Bengal and adjoining the north Odisha & Bangladesh coasts around the evening of 26th May, 2021.”

IMD has also issued a set of warnings for people of the areas where cyclone Yaas is expected to take a landfall. It has made a heavy rainfall prediction for the states of Odisha, West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jharkhand and Bihar, from 23rd of May till 27th May, 2021. Apart from this, fishermen of these states have also been advised by authorities not to venture into the sea during the period when the cyclone is expected to be hitting the coasts. Previously, IMD had also advised those who are in the deep sea to return to the coast by May 23 morning.

Precautions being taken by the Authorities:

The central government, along with the state governments of Odisha and West Bengal are closely monitoring the situation over the Bay of Bengal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on Sunday, where he reviewed the preparations that are being done to deal with the natural disaster. Following the meeting, PM also tweeted a link of a detailed statement of PMO on the PIB website, which decodes all the preparations that are being made in order to tackle the cyclone. Moreover, in a separate tweet he wrote- “Emphasised on timely evacuation as well as ensuring power and communications networks are not disrupted. Also emphasised on ensuring  COVID-19 treatment of patients in affected areas does not suffer due to the cyclone. 

Praying for everyone’s safety and well-being.”

According to the PIB release, following measures are being taken to minimise the loss in affected states:

  • NDRF pre-positions 46 teams, 13 teams being airlifted today
  • Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief, search and rescue operations.
  • PM has asked officers to ensure timely evacuation of those involved in off-shore activities and also to minimise the time of outages of power, telephone networks after the cyclone hits.

The Eastern Railways on Sunday, decided to temporarily cancel 25 trains between 24th – 29th may, 2021, keeping in mind the upcoming cyclone. Apart from this, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta Banarjee also reviewed the preparations in her state on 22nd May, after which she tweeted: 

“I have extensively reviewed the Disaster Management preparedness with regards to the impending Yaas cyclone today afternoon with all senior officers of relevant Central & State agencies along with DMs & SPs.”

Fishermen have been alerted to immediately return. 24×7 control rooms have been set up (Ph No – 1070 & 033-22143526). All agencies have been asked to spring into action. Relief materials have been dispatched & Quick Response Teams are mobilised. 

I request all to stay alert.”– she added.

Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner, Pradeep K Jena, who is the face of the relief operations and preparedness pertaining to the upcoming cyclone, spoke to ANI on Sunday, and said:

“I reviewed preparedness in crucial districts including Kendrapara, Balasore & Bhadrak. Adequate arrangements in terms of evacuation, infrastructure, shelters along with drinking water, have been made.”

“We’re also keeping a robust plan for post-cyclone restoration of electricity & telecom towers if required. All COVID hospitals have given alternate power backups. Adequate medicines & consumables have been stored for at least 7 days.”– he added.

Keeping in view the recent accident that happened on barge P305 during Cyclone Tauktae, the Indian Navy has better equipped to prevent any such misadventure from occurring. The Indian Coast Guard along with the Indian Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief, search and rescue operations, while the Indian Air Force and engineer task force units of the Army, with boats and rescue equipment, are on standby for deployment. Moreover, seven ships with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief units are on standby along the western coast in order to deal with any eventuality that occurs in the days to come.

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