<br>Cyclone Amphan of 700 km width and 15 km height is slated to make landfall in West Bengal between Digha and Hatiya Island in Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon and is likely to have a devastating impact.
Rina Tripathi, Disaster Management Advisor at the Red Cross, said thousands of social emergency response volunteers and national disaster response members were on the ground to sensitize and mobilise people to go to safer places.
“People from riverbanks, slums and other vulnerable areas are being sensitised and advised to move to shelters,” Tripathi said.
On the preparations, Syed Nasiruddin, General Secretary of the West Bengal Red Cross Society, said, “We have over 200 trained volunteers in six districts. They, along with the local administration and the panchayats, have evacuated around 20,000 people from Digha till now.”
Amphan is expected to make the biggest impact in South and North 24 Parganas and East Medinipur districts of West Bengal. In these coastal blocks, thousands of people have also been evacuated.
People would be shifted to over 150 cyclone shelters and, if need be, at schools, Nasiruddin added.
“Food is being arranged for evacuees. Safety kit and tarpaulins will also be provided to them. As the state is facing the double whammy of Covid-19 and cyclone, social distancing norms are also being kept in check,” the General Secretary said.
On preparation done by Odisha, Tripathi said the state had 65 cyclone homes where evacuees were being shifted. “The shelters are being equipped with tarpaulins, masks and first-aid kits,” she said.
“Odisha is quite used to it. The volunteers are advising people living near riverbeds or in high alert areas to shift. They are also teaching people about social distancing,” she said.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Response Force on Tuesday said as many as 41 teams are pre-positioned to carry out evacuation and awareness in both Odisha and West Bengal.
“Nineteen teams are on ground, while two are on standby in six districts of West Bengal. Whereas, in Odisha, of the 20 teams, 15 are deployed in seven districts,” it said.