As cyclone Komen makes landfall in Bangladesh, heavy rains have been forecast in southern West Bengal by the meteorological department.
Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee also cut short her London visit in view of the situation and anded in Kolkata at 5pm today to personally oversee relief operations.
A high alert has been sounded in all southern districts of West Bengal, especially North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Burdwan, Hooghly, Birbhum and Murshidabad. Along with this, leave of all government officials has been cancelled to counter the situation.
“Depression has intensified into cyclonic storm, will make landfall in Bangladesh. After landfall, it will hit border districts and heavy rainfall is expected across south Bengal,” director of Indian Meteorogical Department in Kolkata, GC Debnath said.
Officials say the impact of the storm will be felt tonight and tomorrow in the state. In Bangladesh, low-lying areas in south-eastern coastal parts are likely to be most affected.
Although wind speed may considerably reduce by the time the storm reaches West Bengal, heavy rains are expected to cause some damage. At least 30 to 100 percent more rainfall than normal is expected.
Bannerjee has tried, however, to reassure people that all necessary steps have been taken.
“There is no need to be scared of the cyclone. The government is prepared. People should be alert and careful,” she said.
Home secretary, Basudeb Bannerjee, who heads a task force set up to deal with the situation, said, “26,000 people are already in relief camps in 7 districts. 227 relief camps have been setup and 47 kitchens. Heavy rain is a concern because the barrages are full and a high tide is expected tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, people are already moving to relief camps in villages across the Sunderbans because of their experience of cyclone, Aila, in May 2009. Aila, which affected both West Bengal and Bangladesh, claimed 158 lives and many others were reported missing.
Over one lakh extra tarpaulin sheets have also been sent by the government to affected districts during the last few days.