Heavy rains, Kolkata airport shut ahead of cyclone Amphan landfall
New Delhi : Cyclone Amphan is hours away from striking the Bengal and as a precautionary measure several services, including Kolkata Airport, has been shut while heavy rains lashed the region.
More than 4 lakh people have been evacuated to the safety in both the states – Odisha and Bengal. Amphan is expected to pack winds gusting up to 185 kilometres per hour when it crosses West Bengal's Digha and Hatiya island of Bangladesh where around 20 million have been moved to over 12,000 shelters.
In Kolkata, the airport has been shut till 5 am tomorrow after the city, close to the coast, was put on alert. Early morning visuals showed winds and heavy rain in Paradip in Odisha and South 24 Paraganas in Bengal. Seven districts of Bengal are likely to face the direct impact of the cyclone.
The storm is not expected to hit Odisha, senior official PK Jena said this morning, adding that the landfall is expected this evening in Sundarbans in Bengal. "As the cyclone moves, next six-eight hours are very important. We have evacuated about 1.37 lakh people so far," he said. Coastal districts like Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore are likely to be battered by heavy rain coupled with high-speed winds.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked people living near the coastal areas to remain inside during the landfall. "The tail-end of a cyclone can do worst damage, so people should not come out of their homes until they get an all-clear," she said, recalling that when Cyclone Fani hit last year, more died when the cyclone was leaving.
The challenge for the country has doubled with the cyclone Amphan as the nation is currently fighting coronavirus.