Bhubaneswar/ Kolkata | Jagran News Desk: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday issued a warning that "very severe cyclonic storm" Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) has intensified into "extremely severe cyclonic storm" and will likely move to north-northeastwards and move fast across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the afternoon or evening of May 20.

In another statement, the IMD issued rainfall warning for Odisha, West Bengal, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya till May 21 and advised fishermen not to venture into south Bay of Bengal for the next 24 hours. 

"Cyclone Amphan in Bay of Bengal, intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm at 2:30 am today. It is expected to further intensify into a super cyclonic storm in the next 12 hours," IMD director general Mrutyunjaya Mohapatra, quoted by ANI.

Follwing the IMD warning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to chair a high-level meeting with the Home Minister Amit Shah and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Monday at 4 pm to review the arising cyclone situation in parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the Centra has pust West Bengal and Odisha on high alert. In Odisha, which has been ravaged by a string of cyclones over the last few years, 12 districts -- Ganjam, Gajapti, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khurda and Nayagarh -- have been put on high alert. 

The state government has also informed that it has made arrangements to shift 11 lakh people from vulnerable areas. "We have 567 cyclone and flood shelters available to house the people in case evacuation is required. In addition, we have arranged 7,092 buildings to keep people if required," said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena, as reported by news agency PTI.

Looking at the situaion, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed seven of its team in West Bengal and ten in Odisha.

These teams are in six districts -- South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly. 

In Odisha, 10 teams have been deployed in seven districts -- Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak,
Balasore and Mayurbhanj. One team of NDRF consists of around 45 personnel. Odisha has already chalked out the strategy to restore power and water supply, clear roads, start rescue and relief operations immediately after the cyclone peters out. 

Amphan, which is in the category of a very severe cyclonic storm, is most likely to intensify into an extremely severe cyclonic storm by Monday evening attaining a maximum wind speed of 170 to 180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph. The system is very likely to lose some power as it approaches landfall, said officials.

(With agency inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma