HomeEconomyCyclone Remal Hits West Bengal, Over 100,000 Evacuated

Cyclone Remal Hits West Bengal, Over 100,000 Evacuated

West Bengal: Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Remal’ made a dramatic landfall between the coasts of Bangladesh and West Bengal on Sunday night, causing widespread devastation. The storm, with wind speeds reaching up to 135 kilometers per hour, brought heavy rains that flooded homes and farmland, uprooted trees, and knocked down electric poles. More than 100,000 people were evacuated from vulnerable areas in anticipation of the cyclone’s arrival.

The landfall process began at 8:30 PM local time over the adjacent coasts of West Bengal and Bangladesh, specifically between Sagar Island in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh, near the southwest of Mongla. The storm left a trail of destruction in its wake, flattening fragile dwellings and causing significant damage to infrastructure.

Evacuations and Damage

The West Bengal government successfully evacuated around 110,000 people from coastal and vulnerable areas, focusing on South 24 Parganas district, including Sagar Island, Sundarbans, and Kakdwip. This large-scale evacuation was crucial in preventing a higher casualty toll. One person was injured in the Gosaba area of the Sundarbans due to debris from the storm, and another injury was reported in Kolkata’s Bibir Bagan area due to a wall collapse caused by heavy rain.

Reports from North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts indicated extensive damage, including roofs of thatched houses being blown away, electric poles being twisted, and trees being uprooted. Low-lying areas adjoining Kolkata experienced significant flooding, with streets and homes inundated.

Government Response and Rescue Efforts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review the response and preparedness for the storm, while West Bengal Governor Dr. CV Ananda Bose monitored the situation closely. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged residents to stay indoors and assured them of the government’s support. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) authorities evacuated people from high-rises and dilapidated buildings, with Mayor Firhad Hakim stating that 15,000 civic employees were mobilized to address post-cyclone scenarios.

Fourteen National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were deployed across districts in southern Bengal, including Kolkata. The state government readied State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams and coordinated with KMC to ensure relief materials and quick response teams were in place.

Impact on Transportation and Infrastructure

Cyclone Remal significantly disrupted air, rail, and road transportation in Kolkata and other parts of southern Bengal. The Eastern and South Eastern Railways canceled several trains, and Kolkata airport suspended flight operations for 21 hours, affecting 394 flights. Operations at the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata were also suspended.

Ongoing Relief and Recovery Efforts

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ensured no loss of life or property at sea, with remote operating stations alerting vessels and ships. Nine disaster relief teams were on standby. The Indian Navy prepared two ships equipped with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and medical supplies, with aviation assets on standby for rapid response. Specialized diving teams and flood relief teams were also prepared for deployment.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that southern Bengal districts would experience increasing winds and rainfall, and light rains and winds in areas like Digha, Kakdwip, and Jaynagar are expected to intensify. As rescue and recovery efforts continue, authorities remain vigilant to mitigate further impacts and ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

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