Cyclone Amphan has the potential to cause large-scale damage, the weather office said.

New Delhi:

As super cyclone Amphan advanced towards Bengal and Odisha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah this morning spoke to Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Navin Patnaik, and assured them of all possible help. Cyclone Amphan, equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, is gathering strength and is expected to hit the coast of Bengal late on Wednesday. More than 50 lakh people are being evacuated to safer places.

In a telephonic conversation with Mamata Banerjee, Amit Shah discussed the arrangements and preparedness in West Bengal, where the cyclone is expected to land on Wednesday.

“The central government is with you,” the Home Minister reportedly assured Mamata Banerjee, who had in recent days accused the centre of playing politics in Bengal – due for elections next year — in the name of fighting coronavirus.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba is meeting with the National Crisis Monitoring Committee to discuss how the National Disaster Response Force and defence forces, power and telecommunications departments are preparing their emergency response.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the home minister, yesterday reviewed measures to prepare for the cyclone and mitigate its damage.

Cyclone “Amphan” developed into a super cyclone over the Bay of Bengal on Monday and has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal when it makes landfall, the government had said.

This is the second super cyclone over the Bay of Bengal in two decades.

Cyclone Amphan is expected to hit the West Bengal coast on Wednesday afternoon as an extremely severe cyclonic storm with the wind gusting at up to 195 kmph.

Moving at a speed of 220 to 230 kilometers per hour, the cyclone is forecast to be the worst storm over the Bay of Bengal since the 1999 super cyclone that hit Odisha and killed about 10,000 people.

The wind speed can cause immense damage to crops, plantations, trees, mud houses and communication and electric poles. The storm also threatens lives of people and animals.

About 25 teams from the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed on the ground and 12 others are ready in reserve, tweeted PM Modi yesterday after his meeting on the cyclone.

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