Cyclone AMPHAN is expected to make a landfall in Bengal on Wednesday.

New Delhi: Cyclone Amphan turned in to a “super cyclonic storm” this morning, the weather office said, hours after it intensified in to an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”. Two states- Bengal and Odisha – have been alerted over the storm, which is expected to make a landfall in Bengal on Wednesday. “The Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’ (pronounced as UM-PUN) intensified into Super Cyclonic Storm at 1130 IST of today, the 18th May, 2020 (sic),” the India Meteorological Department or IMD tweeted this afternoon. Very heavy rainfall is also likely in , Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya till Wednesday, apart from Odisha and Bengal, the IMD said in a statement. The landfall in Bengal is expected a time when the country is fighting against coronavirus, which has affected more than 96,000 people, killed more than 3,000.

Here’s is your ten-point cheat sheet on Cyclone Amphan:

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a meeting this evening to review the preparedness, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted. “To review the arising cyclone situation in various parts of the country, PM @narendramodi ji will chair a high level meeting with MHA & NDMA, today at 4pm (sic),” he wrote this morning. 

  2. A year after it was hit by Cyclone Fani, one of the worst storms in decades, Odisha is prepared to evacuate over 1 million people, according to the state officials. Twelve coastal districts – Ganjam, Gajapti, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khurda and Nayagarh – are under a close watch.

  3. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed the officials concerned to prepare a plan for relocating people living in vulnerable areas to safer places along with an early restoration of water supply and power infrastructure. The state has set a zero casualty target. “As always, saving lives is our priority. We should put our best efforts to save every precious human life,” Mr Patnaik told top officials, according to news agency PTI.

  4. Thirty-seven teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are on duty in Odisha and Bengal.”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. It is a dual challenge as cyclone is striking in time of COVID-19 and (hence) we are facing a double challenge so to say,” SN Pradhan, Director General, NDRF, said. Each team has 45 members.

  5. Northern parts of Odisha are likely to be more affected due to the cyclone, IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. Heavy rain is likely to hit parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. 

  6. Fishermen have been asked not to venture into coastal areas till Wednesday.

  7. Those living in coastal areas will have to brace up for heavy rain and high-velocity winds, the weather office has said. The high-velocity winds may cause damage to houses, crops, plantations and orchards, and power infrastructure, the IMD has said, adding that rail traffic may be affected. Only special trains are allowed to run during the lockdown.

  8. West Bengal Home Secretary Alapan Bandopdhyay said that the state is prepared to deal with the situation. Disaster management teams were dispatched to cyclone shelters in the coastal areas and other places for rescue and relief operations where social distancing norms would be strictly followed, he said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  9. On Saturday, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met under Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to review the preparedness for minimising the loss of lives and property. 

  10. Last year, Odisha was praised for its handling of Cyclone Fani (pronounced as Foni) and ensuring minimum loss of lives. The state had relocated over 11 lakh people across 13 districts to safety.

(With inputs from PTI)

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