Disasters & Accidents

India evacuates a million people as cyclone approaches eastern coast

New Delhi/Dhaka, May 25 (EFE).- India had by Tuesday evacuated nearly a million people along its eastern coast ahead of the arrival of cyclone Yaas, a day before the powerful storm is predicted to make landfall by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while neighboring Bangladesh remains on high alert.

“Right now the evacuation process is in full swing, according to the latest report we have evacuated 200,00 people,” Kamal Lochan Mishra, the executive director of the disaster management authority in the coastal state of Odisha, told EFE.

The eastern state has 900 pre-established shelters and has identified over 6,700 additional facilities where people could be transferred from areas that face the risk of flooding, apart from those who live in houses vulnerable to major damage.

In neighboring West Bengal, the National Disaster Response Force said in a statement that around 800,000 people had been evacuated so far. The state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said on Monday that around a million people in the state were expected to be moved to safer areas ahead of the storm.

In Bangladesh, no evacuations have been planned yet despite the state of alert.

“As of now there is no plan to start evacuation since the chance of the cyclone directly hitting Bangladesh’s territory is low. But we have put all coastal districts on alert to face any kind of emergency situation,” Nur Islam Khan, the director (operations) of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme, told EFE.

Yaas is expected to hit the coast on Wednesday afternoon close to the city of Dhamra in northern Odisha, before heading northwards and affecting West Bengal, according to the latest forecast by the IMD.

The cyclone will be carrying winds of up to 145 kilometers per hour and authorities have warned of heavy rains and flooding in coastal areas.

Yaas comes a little over a week after another cyclone Tauktae left at least 145 dead on the western coast of India, which is facing a double crisis as the coronavirus death toll continues to rise in the country.

Cyclones are a common occurrence in the Bay of Bengal, especially between April-May and October-November. In May 2020, super-cyclone Amphan killed over 100 people in India and Bangladesh, becoming one of the deadliest storms in the region in the last few years. EFE


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