Natural Disasters

Amphan to severely affect Odisha's Balasore, Bhadrak: Officials

Both districts are on the north Odisha coast and border West Bengal

By Priya Ranjan Sahu
Published: Tuesday 19 May 2020
Photo: Earthnullschool

Balasore and Bhadrak districts on the northern coast of Odisha and close to Digha, a tourist town in West Bengal's East Midnapore district, are going to be severely affected by the Cyclone Amphan, which is expected to make landfall on May 20, 2020, officials in the state said on May 19, 2020.

They added that other coastal Odisha districts were also expected to be affected by Amphan.  

Cyclone Amphan has been predicted to be between Digha and the Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh between afternoon and evening as a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, with a maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kilometres, gusting to 180 km per hour, according to the India Meteorological Department in Bhubaneswar.

The cyclone would cause heavy to very heavy rainfall in Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts in coastal and northern Odisha, the IMD added.

The wind speed would be 75 km to 85 km per hour, gusting to 95 km per hour from the morning of May 20 in Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara, Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre head, HR Biswas, said.

“It will gradually increase thereafter, becoming 100 km to 110 km per hour, gusting to 125 km in the districts,” Biswas added.

The met department advised a total ban on fishing operations on May 20 and asked fishermen not to venture out to sea.

Odisha special relief commissioner Pradeep Jena said the cyclone could cause extensive damage to the thatched and kutchha houses and some damage to pucca houses in Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur districts.

Besides, there were chances of major damage to overhead power lines and signalling systems, standing crops, orchards and coconut plantations.

“The coastal Odisha districts, which were affected by Cyclone Bulbul in November last year, may again be affected when struck by Cyclone Amphan, which seems to be more ferocious. The cyclone’s fury may be felt more in Balasore and Bhadrak,” Jena said.

He said 31 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and 217 teams of fire services had already been deployed in the districts for rescue and relief operations. Besides, 75 teams of the Odisha Forest Development Corporation have been deployed to immediately make roads clear of fallen trees and debris immediately after the cyclone, he said. 

The government has evacuated more than 40,000 people from vulnerable areas and moved them to safer places. Officials said the cyclone shelters had been stocked with food and water while social distancing was being maintained keeping the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in mind.

Mobile health teams have been kept ready along with adequate medicines including that of snake bite, according to officials.

Cyclone Bulbul, which had made its land fall between West Bengal and Bangladesh in November 2019, had caused heavy damage in the coastal districts of Odisha causing heavy rain, uprooting trees, damaging crops and power structure. 

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