As Cyclone Yaas in the Bay of Bengal is expected to slam into West Bengal and Odisha around midday tomorrow, the chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday she will be staying at the state secretariat Nabanna to monitor the situation closely. Last week, the state government set up control room at Nabanna to keep a watch on the movement of the cyclone.

Banerjee said on Tuesday, I have spoken to all the DMs on Cyclone Yaas. I will stay in Nabanna tonight. I will monitor the situation closely.

On Saturday, the CM after chairing a high-level meeting regarding cyclone Yaas said, the state government has set up a control room to monitor the situation at the state secretariat Nabanna, which will work round the clock. The phone numbers of the control room are 1070 and 033-22143526.

Besides the centralised control room, the state government has opened several smaller control rooms in coastal areas of the state.

On the same day, a state official had confirmed at Banerjee would be present at the control room on the days when the cyclone is about to hit the coastal areas of the state.

Yesterday during a press conference, the CM said that the impact of Yaas would be more severe than Cyclone Amphan that hit the state last year. “Cyclone Yaas’s impact is going to be much more than Amphan, according to the information we have received so far. This is going to affect at least 20 districts in West Bengal. The districts of Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur will be severely affected,” she said.

The districts of Howrah, Hooghly, Bankura, Birbhum, Nadia, Paschim and Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Murshidabad, Jhargram, Purulia would also be affected by the cyclone, she said.

Nearly two million people are shifted to shelters

Meanwhile, nearly two million people living along India’s east coast are being moved to shelters, officials said Tuesday, and the storm has also disrupted efforts to combat the country’s devastating Covid-19 outbreak.

“This cyclone is a terrible blow for many people in coastal districts whose families have been struck down by Covid-19 infections and deaths,” West Bengal Sundarbans development minister Bankim Chandra Hazra told AFP.

“Nearly half a million people are being evacuated from their homes in the (West Bengal) coastal region and it’s a big challenge to provide them shelter (while) maintaining social distancing.”

Some vaccination centres in districts under threat as well as the capital Kolkata would suspend operations, officials said, and efforts were under way to ensure the supply of oxygen and medicines to hospitals during the storm.

Some 1.4 million people were moved away from coastal districts in neighbouring Odisha, with thousands of disaster and relief personnel deployed, local media reported.

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