The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met for the third time; to review the preparedness of States and Central Ministries/Agencies to deal with the Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’. The Cabinet Secretary, Shri Rajiv Gauba chaired the meeting. India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated that the Super Cyclone is expected to impact the West Bengal coast on the afternoon/evening of 20th May. The expectations remain of very high wind speeds ranging up to 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph; accompanied by heavy rainfall and storm surges of 4-5 metres in the coastal districts of the State.
Districts of East Medinipur, South & North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata expected to be impacted. According to expectations, the Amphan cyclone can cause more damage than the Cyclone ‘Bulbul’; which hit the West Bengal Coast on 9th November 2019. Moreover, the cyclone will also bring heavy rainfall, squally winds and storm surges in the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore in Odisha.
Proactiveness of the Odisha & West Bengal Governments
Chief Secretary, Odisha and Home Secretary, West Bengal participated in the meeting through video conference. They imparted the preparatory measures they took to the Committee. The officials informed that they are carrying out evacuation of people from the low-lying areas. They are taking all actions to stock food grains, drinking water and other essential supplies. Additionally, teams for maintenance and restoration of Power and Telecom services have also been positioned.
Steps Taken by the National Crisis Management Committee
Reviewing the preparedness of the States and Central Agencies, Cabinet Secretary asked the State Governments to ensure timely and complete evacuation of people from low lying areas in Amphan cyclone’s path and maintain adequate quantities of essential supplies such as food, drinking water and medicines etc. Therefore, the Cabinet Secretary advised the state governments to keep teams for road clearance and other restoration work-ready.
Firstly, the National Disaster Response Force has deployed 36 teams in both states. Rescue and relief teams of the Army and Navy along with ships and air crafts of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are on standby. Secondly, the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Power has deployed officials in the States to ensure the maintenance of essential services.
Senior Officers from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, Shipping, Power, Telecommunications, Health; India Meteorological Department; National Disaster Management Authority and National Disaster Response Force also attended the meeting. Notably, the Committee will meet again to take stock of the emerging situation.