AMPHAN (pronounced ‘Um-pun’; meaning sky) is the category 5 super cyclone that is moving towards the eastern coast of the Indian subcontinent. The cyclonic storm is the most powerful storm in the Northern Hemisphere this year and the strongest tropical cyclone to have originated in the Bay of Bengal.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, AMPHAN is predicted to make first contact with the landmass somewhere between Digha(West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands(Bangladesh) on the 20th of May,2020. The wind speeds are estimated to be around 150-160 km/h with gusts reaching 185 km/h later in the day. The forecasted track route of AMPHAN puts the state of West Bengal in most jeopardy, followed by the states of Odisha, Meghalaya and Assam.
Fishing activities in the state of West Bengal and Odisha have been suspended, with over 30,000 people evacuated from the coast of Odisha and over 3 lakh people evacuated from possibly dangerous zones in West Bengal. However, in Balasore, a Coronavirus hotspot with 119 positive cases, the authorities had a tough time evacuating people, as they were apprehensive of contracting Covid-19.
“Cyclone Amphan is uprooting trees and (electric) poles. I urge people not to get out of their houses until the cyclonic storm subsides. Restoration will begin after that with the help of CESU (Central Electricity Supply Utility of Orissa), ODRAF (Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force) & NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) teams,” tweeted Kendrapara district collector Samarth Verma.
The West Bengal Government has also issued 3 helpline numbers: 03322143526--- 03322141995--- 1070
Meghalaya government has fully activated district emergency operations centres to receive information on cyclone Amphan. The govt also issued a warning to residents and launched helplines -- 0364-2502094 and 0364-2225289