Cyclone Remal: Bengal Braces For Landfall; PM Modi Chairs Meet; Raj Bhavan Open For Public

Kolkata: As West Bengal braced for maximum impact from the impending Cyclone Remal, which intensified into a severe cyclonic storm earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review response and preparedness.

Fourteen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in West Bengal to assist in rescue and relief operations. Most of them are in South 24 Parganas district, close to the coast.

The Kolkata airport and port suspended operations from Sunday, while Eastern Railway cancelled several local and long-distance trains to minimise damage.

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the cyclone, the first this season in the Bay of Bengal, is all set to make landfall between West Bengal’s Sagar Island and Bangladesh’s Khepupara within three hours, around midnight.

“The severe cyclonic storm Remal over the north Bay of Bengal moved nearly northward with a speed of 16 kilometres per hour during the past 6 hours and it lay centred at 1730 hours IST today… The landfall process will commence in the next 2-3 hours and the current intensity near the centre in terms of maximum sustained wind is 110 to 120 gusting to 135 kilometres per hour,” IMD scientist Somenath Dutta said around 8.30 pm.

West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose also conducted an emergency review meeting on Cyclone Remal in the evening.

Raj Bhavan has set up a task force to assist the public and will be open for those who need safe accommodation and other support.

Bangladesh meteorological department director Azizur Rahman said severe Cyclone Remal has started crossing the Bangladesh coast.

“We have so far recorded maximum wind speeds of 90 kilometres (56 miles) per hour, but the wind speed may pick up more pace,” Rahman told AFP.

Around one million people have been evacuated from coastal areas in India and Bangladesh.

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