West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said one crore people have been affected due to cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’ in the State. About 15 lakh (15,04, 006) people have been evacuated and three lakh houses damaged.
Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyophyay said the State had been able to evacuate many people at a very short notice. One death due to accidental drowning was reported in Purba Medinipur district.
Ms. Banerjee said, “We had evacuated the person but then he went for fishing during the cyclone and died”.
There was extensive damage to agriculture due to ingress of saline water in agriculture fields. There were reports of breach of embankments at 134 places, she stated.
Repairing of embankments
Speaking to officials, Ms. Banerjee said they should come up with a permanent solution for repairing embankments as cyclones were causing severe damage to them every year. She also urged people to remain indoors and be cautious during high tide for the next two days.
“There has been significant damage across different sectors, including agriculture, fisheries and irrigation but we will be able to estimate the complete situation it in 72 hours,” she noted. Rehabilitation would start in 48 hours, she added.
‘Yaas’, which was centered about 15 km south southwest of Balasore would move north northwestwards and in the next three hours weaken into a Severe Cyclonic Storm, according to Sanjib Bandyophyay, Deputy Director General, Metereology, Regional Metereological Centre, Kolkata. In another six hours, it would weaken into a Cyclonic Storm, he said.
‘Yaas’ made a landfall at 9.15 a.m. near Balasore in Odisha.
“In West Bengal, because of the cyclonic storm coinciding with the high tide, there has been inundation in some parts due to breaching of embankments and water overflowing these embankments,” he stated.
Several villages have been inundated in Sundarban area, particularly in areas of Namkhana, Kakdwip and Frasergunj. In Gosaba and Sandeshkhali, there were reports of breaching of embankments. On Sagar Island, the sea water had risen and reached the Kapil Muni temple several hundred meters away from the coast.
In Purba Medinipur, Digha town was completely submerged along with parts of Haldia and Tajpur. The low-lying areas of Nandigram and Contai as well as parts of Howrah district were also waterlogged.