Weakens after making an early landfall.
Kolkata: Cyclone Yaas weakened into a severe cyclonic storm after making landfall hours before it was expected to on Wednesday, leaving a trail of destruction.
A PTI report, quoting Odisha’s special relief commissioner P.K. Jena, said seawater entered thousands of houses in Bahanaga and Remuna blocks of the Balasore district. Heavy rain in the Similipal National Park caused fears of a flash flood in the Budhabalang river. In the afternoon, the water level in the river was at 21 metres against the danger mark of 27 metres, Jena added.
Reuters quoted West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee as saying that around 20,000 mud houses and temporary shelters were either destroyed or damaged.
Banerjee said at least one crore people in her state have been affected, whereas over 15 lakh people have been evacuated to safe camps. Three lakh houses have suffered damage in parts of Bengal.
The Mayurbhanj district administration started evacuating certain vulnerable points on both sides of the river and also from some low-lying areas in the Baripada town, the PTI report said.
According to the India Meteorological Department, the cyclone made landfall between Dhamra and Balasore, Odisha, with a wind speed of about 130-140 kmph. The landfall was complete at 1.30 pm.
In the wake of the cyclone, IMD has made a forecast of moderate to heavy rain in the adjacent states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Sikkim and Meghalaya.
Mokhsita Sharma, a resident of Balasore, informed The Observer: “We are witnessing high tides in Chandipur. People have been evacuated from their huts. Shops and banners have been put away.”
Ashish Giri, who is in charge of a multipurpose cyclone shelter in East Midnapore district said, “A number of pucca houses have been damaged. Digha is witnessing extremely high tides which have flooded a number of houses nearby. Presently, more than a hundred and seven people have been moved to the shelter camps.”
NDRF tweeted on Wednesday that 164 of its personnel had already begun restoration works in different parts of North and South 24 Parganas districts in West Bengal and in Odisha.