Cyclone Remal: Over 1 lakh people in Bengal’s coastal areas shifted to shelters

Kolkata, May 26 (PTI) As a precautionary measure against the impending severe cyclone ‘Remal’, the West Bengal government has evacuated over 1.10 lakh people from coastal regions, including the Sundarbans and Sagar Island, to secure shelters, a senior official said on Sunday.

To bolster these efforts, 16 battalions each from the state disaster management and NDRF have been deployed in the coastal areas, the official added.

“Evacuation efforts have concentrated on relocating 1.10 lakh people from coastal regions to safe shelters, with a significant number hailing from South 24 Parganas district, notably Sagar Island, Sunderbans, and Kakdwip,” the official informed PTI.

Inhabitants of Kakdwip, Namkhana, Diamond Harbour, Raichawk were also shifted to safe shelters, he said.

Talking to PTI, South 24 Parganas district magistrate Sumit Gupta, who is stationed in Kakdwip, said all measures have been taken and they are prepared to face the storm.

“I am personally monitoring the situation and moving from one place to another. Police, disaster management personnel, and volunteers are ready to address any situation. All inhabitants of low-lying areas have been evacuated to safe places,” he told PTI.

The state government has distributed approximately 5.40 lakh tarpaulins and ensured the availability of dry ration, powdered milk, and drinking water pouches across these districts, ensuring preparedness for the impending crisis.

“Our district management teams are fully engaged, operating round-the-clock to address the evolving situation,” the official reassured.

A centralised control unit has been established at the state secretariat to monitor the situation closely.

The state administration has also opened control units at different districts like Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah and Nadia.

According to the meteorological department, ‘Remal’ has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and is poised to make landfall between Bangladesh and the adjoining West Bengal coasts by midnight on Sunday, with sustained wind speeds ranging from 110-120 km per hour and gusts reaching up to 135 kmph.

Anticipating the cyclone’s impact, coastal districts are expected to experience extremely heavy rainfall, while Kolkata and its environs may encounter heavy to very heavy rainfall.

Authorities in the coastal areas, especially in Digha, Shankarpur, and Tajpur, have issued advisories urging tourists to vacate hotels and refrain from venturing into the seas as a precautionary measure.

“We have deployed our state and district disaster units along with teams from NDRF in these popular sea beach destinations. The majority of hotels have been evacuated, and access to the sea has been restricted. Comprehensive arrangements have been put in place,” the official added.

Kolkata Police has established a unified command centre at its headquarters to manage the situation, comprising officials from the power utilities, Public Works Department, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, National Disaster Response Force, Kolkata Municipal Development Authority (KMDA), fire and emergency services, the Disaster Management Group (DMG), and police.

In addition to the landline numbers 033-2214-3024 and 033-2214-3230, the city police has also announced two helpline numbers—9432610428 and 9432610429—for citizens.

The helpline numbers at the state secretariat are 1070 and (033)-22143526.