At least 1 cr people affected by Cyclone Yaas: Mamata

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Kolkata, May 26 (IANS) Even as ‘very severe cyclone Yaas weakened and moved west-southwest towards Jharkhand with reduced intensity on Wednesday, it left a trail of destruction in Odisha and adjacent West Bengal during the consequent two hours following its landfall in Dhamra, 20 km south of Balasore in Odisha.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that at least one crore people have been affected by the cyclone in the state, which also damaged nearly three lakh houses.

“At least one crore people have been affected and three lakh houses have been damaged in West Bengal due to the rough weather conditions arising out of cyclone Yaas. One person died after he had gone out fishing. It was a case of accident,” Banerjee said during a press conference on Wednesday.

“Though more than three lakh houses have been damaged, we have been successful in minimising human casualty. So far, we have been able to evacuate 15,04,506 people from East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts.

“As many villages have been inundated due to the high tide and torrential rain, the process of evacuation is still on and the rescue teams, including the NDRF, SDRF and army, are working together to rescue the people from the flooded areas,” the Chief Minister added.

Thanking everybody, including the rescue operation teams, the power restoration teams, the army and the people in general for their whole-hearted cooperation, the Chief Minister said, “There has been extensive damage to agriculture and I will soon be undertaking an aerial survey of the affected areas in East Midnapore, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts. We will be conducting field surveys to get a final estimate… It will take us at least 72 hours to get a clearer idea.”

Banerjee said that more than 134 embankments have been completely destroyed which will have to be repaired immediately, adding that the state government has already started relief operations, and food packets and tarpaulins are being distributed in different relief camps.

“There are 4,000 cyclone centres in the state and we have also taken some schools to accommodate people. The state has disbursed relief material worth Rs 10 crore for the purpose,” she said.

“Taking lessons from Amphan, the state government developed a unified command that integrated all the departments which worked under a single guideline. More than three lakh people, including two lakh policemen and 74,000 state government employees and officials, were involved in the relief and rescue operations,” Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the landfall process of Cyclone Yaas is complete now. It further said that it will gradually weaken into a severe cyclonic storm in the next three hours, and into a cyclonic storm during the subsequent six hours.

Cyclone Yaas, which began its landfall on Wednesday morning near the Dhamra port in Odisha, has completed the process, the IMD said.