New Delhi [India], May 19 (ANI): In view of the impending cyclone Amphan, 32 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Odisha and West Bengal, and 21 teams have been kept on standby, said SN Pradhan, Director General, NDRF, here on Monday.
"In West Bengal, 19 NDRF teams have been deployed and four teams have been kept on standby. In Odisha, 13 NDRF teams have been deployed and 17 teams have been kept on standby," said Pradhan said during a joint video press conference with Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General (DG) Mritunjay Mohapatra.
Stating that some NDRF teams have already taken their positions and the rest will reach night or Tuesday morning, Pradhan said: "The teams, which have already reached, have started awareness drive, sensitisation and evacuation. The teams have been deployed as per the cyclone path."
Six different battalions of NDRF have been kept on hot standby, he said while adding that four teams each of 11 battalions Benaras, 9 battalions Patna, first battalion Guwahati, 10th battalion Vijayawada, 4th battalion Chennai and Konam, and 5th battalion Pune have been kept on hot standby.
"We are even coordinating with the Indian Air Force (IAF) so that Sea 130 aircraft can be brought to Odisha or West Bengal if needed," he added.
The NDRF D-G further said that the teams are facing the dual challenge at present, "as the country is currently dealing with the coronavirus situation, and maintaining social distance amid the cyclone is very difficult."
Speaking about the super cyclone, Pradhan said: "The cyclone, which was supposed to be a severe cyclonic storm or very severe cyclonic storm, has converted into a super cyclone today. This is a significant development."
He said that the last time this kind of cyclone was witnessed by Odisha was in October 1999. Even the wind speed matches the earlier cyclone. As per the information received, the landfall is supposed to happen by May 20 afternoon, he said.
He further said that the landfall will happen in between West Bengal's Digha and Bangladesh's Hatia Island.
"As per the evaluation, it seems that landfall will happen in Sagar Island or Kak Island. As both are residential areas, there will be huge damage. In Odisha, the cyclone will hit northeast coastal districts -- Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur, and Mayurbhanj. Among them Bhadrak and Balasore might be most affected," he said.
The NDRF chief has urged Odisha and West Bengal governments to cooperate with the Union Government and prepare for evacuation to save the lives and properties.
He also said that three meetings were held on Monday by the Centre, which were chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
Talking about the super cyclone, the IMD chief said: "On May 16, a certain depression had happened and in the evening it took the shape of a cyclone. At 11:30 am on Monday, it turned into a super cyclone."
"On May 20, from afternoon to evening the cyclone will pass through areas near Sunderbans. At that time, it will be an extremely severe cyclone storm with wind speed 165-175 km per hour. There will be extensive damage to property, especially thatched houses, asbestos houses, slums, trees and even old pucca structures."
"However, the most impact of the cyclone will be seen in West Bengal's South and North 24 Pargana and East Midnapur districts. From the coastal Odisha to West Bengal and Bangladesh, the wind will be strong. From today night, the wind speed in coastal Odisha will be 45-55 km per hour, which will increase gradually. On May 20, the wind speed in north coastal Odisha will be 110-120 km per hour and 165-175 km per hour when it passes through Sunderbans," added IMD chief Mohapatra.
He also said that strong winds will be witnessed in Kolkata, Hoogly, Howrah districts and West Midnapur with a wind speed of 110 to 120 km per hour.
"High tidal wave will also be witnessed in Midnapur and South and North 24 Parganas. Since South and North 24 Parganas are shallow areas, the tidal waves can go up to 4-6 metre high. In Midnapur, the tidal wave is expected to reach the height of 3-4 metre," he said while adding that all shipping activities should be stopped till May 20. (ANI)