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Cyclone Yaas: Landfall commences in Odisha, West Bengal coasts; IAF choppers deployed, NDRF teams on alert


New Delhi: Landfall of Cyclone Yaas has commenced in Odisha and West Bengal coasts and the ”severe cyclonic storm” lay centred about 50 km South-Southeast of Balasore, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday.

The IMD has also warned of strong winds over the northwest Bay of Bengal coast. 

Nearly 20 lakh people have been evacuated from regions that are likely to be affected by Cyclone Yaas in Eastern India, just a week after Cyclone Tauktae claimed at least 155 lives on the west coast.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has pressed its choppers into service and deployed its personnel to assist the NDRF in the relief and rescue operations after Cyclone Yaas makes landfall in the afternoon on Wednesday.

According to reports, a C-130 and two An-32 aircraft belonging to the IAF airlifted nearly 102 passengers and 4.5 tons of cargo from Arakonnam to Kalaikunda.

Another C-130 aircraft airlifted 62 passengers and 6.8 tons of cargo from Lilabari to Kolkata, the IAF said. In addition to that, 2 IAF An-32 aircraft have been deployed for airlifting 41 passengers and 4 tons of cargo from Lilabari to Panagarh.

The IMD had earlier said that Cyclone Yaas is likely to make landfall by noon on Wednesday with a wind speed of about 130 to 155 kmph. The weather office added that it currently lay centred over northwest Bay of Bengal.

“We are expecting `very severe cyclonic storm` Cyclone Yaas to make landfall by noon today with wind speed of 130-140 kmph gusting 155 kmph,” Umashankar Das, senior scientist at the IMD, Bhubaneswar was quoted as saying by ANI.

He added, “(As of 6:45 am) The cyclone lay centred over northwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 20.8°N and longitude 87.3°E, about 40 km east of Dhamra (Odisha), 90 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 90 km south-southeast of Balasore (Odisha).”

People in Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand woke up to strong winds and heavy rain on Wednesday morning and braced for the cyclone. The IMD had earlier informed that the cyclone is very likely to reach near the north Odisha coast close to Bhadrak`s Dhamra port by the early morning of May 26.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the people living in the coastal regions of Odisha to cooperate with the local administration and shift to cyclone shelters.

Over 11.5 lakh people were evacuated from vulnerable places in West Bengal ahead of the cyclone, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee informed on Tuesday, adding that she will stay at the state secretariat `Nabanna` on May 25 and May 26 to monitor the cyclonic situation and relief work.

Meanwhile, two persons were electrocuted and at least 80 houses were damaged in Hooghly and North 24 Parganas districts due to strong winds and heavy rainfall on Tuesday at the onset of Cyclone Yaas.

As many as 38 long-distance South-bound and Kolkata-bound passenger trains have been cancelled from May 24 to 29. The Indian Navy, too, has ramped up rescue and relief operations to minimise damages.

As part of the preparation, two Navy Diving Teams and five flood relief teams comprising of specialized Navy personnel with associated equipment and inflatable boats, have been deployed.

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