- On Wednesday, India will be struck by cyclone Yaas, which is expected to hit the eastern coasts of Odisha and West Bengal.
- It’s only been a week since cyclone ‘Tauktae’ wreaked havoc on the western coast, leaving behind a trail of destruction.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a video conference with officials earlier in the day to assess their readiness to deal with the aftermath of Cyclone “Yaas.”
With Yaas approaching India’s east coast, the country is bracing for its second strong cyclonic storm in less than two weeks. On Wednesday (May 26), cyclonic storm Yaas is expected to strike West Bengal and northern Odisha, intensifying today and will further turn into a severe cyclonic storm.
Thousands of residents will be evacuated from coastal areas to safer areas, according to Central and state agencies. The storm is coming at a time when the nation is struggling with unprecedented second wave of Covid-19.
Another severe cyclone, Tauktae, had hit Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat just over a week ago. In western Gujarat, this was the worst cyclone in more than two decades. Thousands of homes were destroyed, trees were uprooted, and hundreds were killed in separate incidents, including a barge that sank in the sea.
The cyclone struck India at a time when the government was still dealing with the effects of the Covid surge. In the second wave, which began to fade in the last few weeks, almost every state was badly affected by the infection. Some states continue to have the largest number of cases. In West Bengal, the infection rate is still about 19,000, which is thousand less than it was at its peak. On May 26, Yaas is scheduled to arrive in West Bengal.
According to Bloomberg, the Bangladesh government has built three times the amount of storm shelters needed to accommodate people evacuated from coastal areas.
The India Meteorological Department said on Twitter that ‘Yaas’ is based around 630 kilometres south-southeast of Balasore, Odisha. It will intensify into a strong cyclonic storm over the next 12 hours and a very severe cyclonic storm over the next 24 hours before crossing the north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar islands around noon on the 26th.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a video conference with the Chief Ministers of Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, as well as the Lieutenant Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to determine their preparedness to deal with the aftermath of Cyclone ‘Yaas.’
Shah asked the states to ensure that all Covid hospitals, laboratories, vaccine cold chains, and other medical facilities have sufficient power backup. He also advised them to ensure that hospitals have sufficient supplies of all necessary drugs and supplies, given the likelihood of vehicle disruption.
The cyclone is likely to affect health services, including temporary hospitals. The Union Home Minister instructed states to make appropriate plans for protecting such health facilities from loss and, if possible, for patient evacuation in advance.