Cyclone Yaas damages houses, uproots trees and poles in Odisha, West Bengal
Army personnel carrying out rescue operations in Talgachari, East Midnapore in West Bengal after Cyclone Yaas ripped through parts of the state and adjacent Odisha on May 26, 2021.Kuntal Chakrabarty/ IANS

Cyclone Yaas damages houses, uproots trees and poles in Odisha, West Bengal

Kolkata, May 26, 2021

Cyclone Yaas damaged houses and uprooted trees and electricity and telephone poles in Odisha and adjacent West Bengal after making landfall at Dhamra, 20 km south of Balasore in Odisha, this morning before weakening and moving west-southwest towards Jharkhand with reduced intensity.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that at least one crore people have been affected by the cyclone in the state, which also damaged nearly three lakh houses.

"At least one crore people have been affected and three lakh houses have been damaged in West Bengal due to the rough weather conditions arising out of cyclone Yaas. One person died after he had gone out fishing. It was a case of accident," Banerjee said during a press conference on Wednesday.

"Though more than three lakh houses have been damaged, we have been successful in minimising human casualty. So far, we have been able to evacuate 15,04,506 people from East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts.

"As many villages have been inundated due to the high tide and torrential rain, the process of evacuation is still on and the rescue teams, including the NDRF, SDRF and army, are working together to rescue the people from the flooded areas," the Chief Minister added.

Thanking everybody, including the rescue operation teams, the power restoration teams, the army and the people in general for their whole-hearted cooperation, the Chief Minister said, "There has been extensive damage to agriculture and I will soon be undertaking an aerial survey of the affected areas in East Midnapore, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts. We will be conducting field surveys to get a final estimate... It will take us at least 72 hours to get a clearer idea."

Banerjee said that more than 134 embankments have been completely destroyed which will have to be repaired immediately, adding that the state government has already started relief operations, and food packets and tarpaulins are being distributed in different relief camps.

"There are 4,000 cyclone centres in the state and we have also taken some schools to accommodate people. The state has disbursed relief material worth Rs 10 crore for the purpose," she said.

"Taking lessons from Amphan, the state government developed a unified command that integrated all the departments which worked under a single guideline. More than three lakh people, including two lakh policemen and 74,000 state government employees and officials, were involved in the relief and rescue operations," Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the landfall process of Cyclone Yaas is complete now. It further said that it will gradually weaken into a severe cyclonic storm in the next three hours, and into a cyclonic storm during the subsequent six hours.

Cyclone Yaas, which began its landfall on Wednesday morning near the Dhamra port in Odisha, has completed the process, the IMD said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 113 teams in five states and a Union Territory as part of its preparation and response to the severe cyclonic storm Yaas -- the highest ever such deployment in the rescue operation.

These teams have been deployed in West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Island.

Of the total teams, 104 are deployed on the ground while nine self-contained teams are on high alert within the states to tackle the situation.

"These NDRF teams are constantly carrying out rescue and restoration work post cyclone in coordination with state and district administration," the NDRF said in a statement.

As the cyclone hit, rainfall in the region has led to inundation of low-lying areas, it said, adding many trapped persons were rescued by the NDRF including an infant with other three family members who were rescued after their house collapsed due to heavy rain in Odisha.

Besides, the NDRF said, hundreds of stranded people were also rescued in the state of West Bengal.

"Three persons were also saved from drowning. NDRF has evacuated thousands of people to safer places in close coordination with local administration in both the states," said the statement.

"Rescue operations are still continuing as large number of trees and electric poles are uprooted after the cyclone hit the land. Deployed teams are removing them from roads to keep communication lines clear and still this process is on. Rescuers are making all out efforts to bring normalcy in the areas."

Director General NDRF Satya Narayan Pradhan has urged people to restrict their movement "till the situation becomes normal and take proper precautionary measures while returning to their homes".


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