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New Delhi, May 20, 2020
Cyclone Amphan hit West Bengal this afternoon after causing widespread damage in the coastal districts of Odisha and triggering heavy rainfall accompanied by gale-force winds in both states.
"Amphan is crossing West Bengal coast between Digha and Hatiya across Sunderban. Half of eye has entered the land. The entire eye will over land within the next one hour," a bulletin issued at 1730 hours by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
It said Amphan (pronounced Um-pun) lay centred at 163 hours IST as a very severe cyclonic storm over northwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 21.8N and longitude 88.25E, about 15 km northeast of Sagar Island, 80 km nearly south of Kolkata, 80 km east-northeast of Digha and 205 km west-southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh).
At that time, the intensity near the centre of the cyclone was 150-160 kmph, gusting to 175 kmph.
The system is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards with a wind speed of 150-160 kmph, gusting to 175 kmph, during the next two hours, the bulletin said.
An IANS report from Bhubaneswar said the cyclone caused havoc in the coastal districts of Odisha as triggered heavy rainfall, coupled with high-velocity winds while moving towards West Bengal.
Hundreds of trees were uprooted and electric and telecom infrastructure damaged.
The government has received reports of two deaths from Bhadrak and Kendrapara districts due to the cyclone.
"We have received reports of a child's death at Tihidi in the Bhadrak district. The District Collector has sent a team, comprising tehsildar, medical and police officials. The exact cause will be ascertained after autopsy," said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena.
A 67-year-old woman died in her house in the Satabhaya area of the Kendrapara district as an ambulance didn't reach her in time. An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of death, said the SRC.
A total of 1,48,486 people have been evacuated from low-laying areas, and thatched and mud houses, and accommodated in 2,921 cyclone shelters. Besides, 1,885 pregnant women were shifted to hospitals for better care in the last two days, said the SRC.
Thirty-six NDRF and ODRAF teams have been deployed in the coastal districts.
"Route clearing and restoration works have begun in the Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada and Bhadrak districts. Mostly trees and electric poles have been uprooted at many places. Damage assessment has also begun," said the SRC.
Energy Secretary Bishnupada Sethi said they had received reports about damage to electric infrastructure in the cyclone affected areas.
"As a precautionary measure, the department had pre-positioned manpower and electric equipment. Once the impact of the cyclone decreases, we will try to restore electricity supply," said Sethi.