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Cyclone Yaas Ravages Bengal, Odisha; leaves behind damaged homes and flooded farmlands; Rain to continue today

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Cyclone Yaas
Cyclone Yaas

The second powerful storm, Cyclone Yaas has hit India badly leaving behind a trail of ravaged houses, and flooded farmlands in coastal regions of Odisha and West Bengal. The effect of damage can be seen in Jharkhand too. About one crore people were affected, three lakh houses and 134 embankments were damaged in Bengal due to the Yaas, which impacted negatively the country's eastern coasts. West Bengal Chief Minister informed that one person died 'accidentally' when he had gone out fishing.

Badly hit places by the very severe cyclone were Hindolganj, Haora, Hashnabad, and Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas; Basanti, Canning, Budge Budge, Namkhana, Gosaba, Fraserganj and Kulti in South 24 Parganas. Cyclone Yaas also wreaked havoc in Digha, Shankarpur, Tajpur, Kontai, Nandigram, Ramnagar, Kolaghat and Uluberia.

Odisha chief minister on Wednesday put out a 7- day relief to all 128 cyclone-hit villages. He also said that all major roads and 80 per cent electricity supply will be restored for commutation in the next 24 hours.

Government of West Bengal has shifted over 15 lakh people to safer places ahead amid concerns over the spread of COVID- 19 at temporary shelters in the face of the raging 2nd wave of the pandemic. The government authorities have informed that they will conduct field surveys to ensure the actual damage to embankments, government buildings, and other structures. The DMs will file a comprehensive report on this and it will take us at least 72 hours to obtain the exact picture.

As per reports, overall more than 21 lakh people were evacuated to shelters in the states of West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand. Cyclone Yaas made landfall around 9 am near Dhamra port in Odisha and weakened during the afternoon. The two state capitals Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar witnessed heavy rains and high winds.

Yaas has taken three lives in Odisha while one in West Bengal. In Odisha's two districts- Balasore and Bhadrak- road links to 128 villages were cut off due to gushing seawater. Chief Minister of Odisha, announced 7 days relief for these villages and directed officials to repair all roads within 24 hours.

In case of Odisha, about 605 roads have been badly damaged of which 495 have been repaired in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Balasore, Bdahrak districts. Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena informed that seawater inundated several villages in Bahanaga and Remuna blocks in the Balasore district, and Dhamra and Basudevpur in the Bhadrak district.

As per report, the Army was called in to help rescue operations in Digha and East Midnapore, which have a border with Balasore district of Odisha. Few parts of the nearby tourist towns of Mandarmani, Shankarpur and Tajpur were also inundated, with sea waters entering the hotels and residential areas. A school, along the coast in Shankarpur, was washed away by the high and mighty sea waves, according to sources.

The Odisha chief minister ordered health screening of all the 6.5 lakh people taken to cyclone shelter, including COVID tests if required. In Bengal, the Army has stationed 17 columns to help the state administration. In South 24 Parganas district, thousands of villagers were displaced in Kakdwip, Fraserganj, Gosaba and the Sunderbans region. Here, homes were extensively destroyed by surging water and strong winds. Flooding was reported from Sagar island at the confluence of Hooghly and Bay of Bengal.

A red warning for heavy to very heavy rainfall has been issued in nine districts of Odisha. Heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated extremely heavy fall is likely to occur over the districts of Balasore, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur,Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Dhenkanal. Jharkhand government evacuated over 10,000 people to safer zones as it was predicted that 'Yaas' would hit the state too. The state has imposed a complete lockdown in some parts to prevent people from venturing out.

In Odisha, once again the Cyclone has spared Bhitarkanika National Park and adjoining hamlets in Kendrapara district with its luxuriant mangrove cover acting as a protective barrier against Nature’s fury. An official said that the mangrove forest has withstood the wind velocity of the cyclone and the region has witnessed seven major cyclones in the past two decades including Yaas. Each time, the cyclonic storm has not impacted the national park and the nearby human habitations, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Bikash Ranjan Dash.

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