NDRF preps for rescue ops as super cyclone Amphan heads for Odisha, Bengal

As Odisha and West Bengal brace for cyclone Amphan, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said Monday it has boosted its strength to face the twin challenge of the storm and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A total of 37 teams have been deployed by NDRF in West Bengal and Odisha, out of which 20 teams are actively deployed and 17 are on standby in the two states,” NDRF Director General S N Pradhan said in a video message.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that Amphan will intensify into a super cyclone.

Pradhan said the force is fully geared to face the situation amid the IMD’s warning that the depression in the Bay of Bengal will turn into a very severe cyclonic storm by this evening and remain so for some time and will cross the West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts on May 20.

On Sunday, the NDRF had earmarked 17 teams for the task.

A single NDRF team comprises 45 personnel.

Pradhan said the NDRF has deployed its teams in seven districts in Odisha and six districts in Bengal.

“It (cyclone ‘Amphan’) is a dual challenge as cyclone is striking in time of Covid-19,” Pradhan said.”We are coordinating with local administrations for active evacuation from possible affected areas.”

The IMD has warned that the cyclone could ravage east Medinipur, south and north 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogly, Kolkata districts in West Bengal.

Kutcha houses are expected to face extensive damage in the storm that is likely to uproot communication and power poles.

It said the cyclone could also disrupt rail and road links in many places and inflict extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards.

It suggested the evacuation of people from low lying areas and advised against movement in motor boats and small ships.

In Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj) the cyclone is expected to completely destroy thatched houses and cause extensive damage to kutcha houses.

The cyclone could also damage tarred and untarred roads and disrupt railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems.

Odisha is also expected to face widespread damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards.

The IMD also repeated its warning to suspend all fishing activity in Bengal and Odisha till May 20.

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