Natural Disasters

Tense Bengal breathes in relief as Cyclone Fani exits without much damage

Cyclonic storm turned into deep depression in Bangladesh. No major damage in West Bengal

By Atonu Choudhurri
Published: Saturday 04 May 2019

West Bengal heaved a sigh of relief over the weakening of Cyclone Fani, which was expected to wreak havoc at 100-120 kilometres per hour from around midnight May 4.

The storm did throw life out of gear as it crossed over from Odisha into East Midnapore district, uprooting trees and bringing Midnapore as well as beach town Digha to a standstill.

Some 15 houses collapsed but no casualties due to the storm were reported. One persons though died due to lightning.

A red alert was sounded in the state and the government shifted around 45,000 people to temporary shelters in East and West Midnapore, Nadia, North and South 24-Parganas, and Howrah districts on May 3.

Coastal towns Mandarmani, Tajpur, Sandeshkhali and Contai came under its spell.

The Coast Guard deployed personnel at resorts in Digha as well as South 24 Pargana’s Frazerganj. Six teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were deployed in Jhargram, the two Midnapores and 24-Parganas.
"The cloud of uncertainty over Fani that entered West Bengal from Odisha's Balasore is over now,” Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, the deputy director-general at the Regional Meterological Centre in Kolkata’s Alipore, said.

The cyclonic storm eventually weakened into a deep depression and was in neighbouring Bangladesh on May 4 morning, according to the Indian Meteorological Department. It is later expected to turn into a depression.

“It crossed Kharagpore with wind of 70-80 kmph,” Bandyopadhyay said. East and West Midnapore districts suffered some damages, though nothing substantial, he added.

In Kharagpur and Burdwan, several trees were uprooted and metal signs swept away.

The storm, the worst in more than a decade, made landfall on May 3 morning in Puri as an extremely severe cyclonic storm, with wind gusting at up to 175 kmph. Eight people were reportedly killed in Odisha.

The effects were visible in southern Bengal, with rainfall amid wind gusts in many places.  

Apart from shifting people to shelters, the Mamata Banerjee government advised fishermen to not venture into the sea and ordered all schools to shut down for Saturday.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation asked advertising agencies to remove hoardings. Hawkers were asked to dismantle roadside stalls. All holidays for civic workers were cancelled.

Banerjee cancelled all her election rallies scheduled for the next 48 hours. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also cancelled campaign programmes.

Though the Dumdum airport and railway stations resumed service, several flights stood cancelled, stranding many in Kolkata.

The Meghalaya government also sought an NDRF platoon (25-30 personnel), state minister Kyrmen Shylla said.


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