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Hundreds of thousands evacuated ahead of Bangladesh cyclone

Hundreds of thousands evacuated ahead of Bangladesh cyclone

On account of the impending rainfall due to the cyclone, flight operations will remain suspended at Kolkata airport from 6:00 PM Saturday till 6:00 AM on Sunday.

The fishermen had been informed about the impending cyclonic storm along the Odisha-West Bengal coasts and have been advised to not venture into the sea.

It was centred about 35km southeast of Sagar Islands in Odisha, 80km east-southeast of Digha, and 125km south-southwest of Kolkata at 7:30pm on Saturday, the Indian Meteorological Department said.

Cyclone Bulbul has triggered heavy rainfall coupled with strong winds in the coastal districts of Odisha on Saturday and is progressing towards West Bengal.

"It's very likely to move northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross West Bengal - Bangladesh Coasts between Sagar Islands (WB) and Khepupara (Bangladesh), across Sunderban delta during next 3 hrs as a Severe Cyclonic Storm", IMD said.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country's apex body to handle any emergency, on Saturday reviewed the preparedness to deal with Cyclone Bulbul over the Bay of Bengal which is likely to affect coastal districts of Bengal and Odisha.

"Schools, colleges and anganwadi centres have been closed and more than 1,20,000 people have already been rescued from the vulnerable coastal areas". High winds uprooted trees in coastal blocks of the three districts as well while also damaging houses in some areas.

The fishing operations have been totally suspended over Odisha-West Bengal coasts till November 10. "Special Control Rooms have been set up and NDRF-SDRF teams are deployed".

The IMD also mentioned about the cyclone "Maha" and said that some places over Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat are likely to receive rainfall in the next 24 hours due to its influence.

Naval aircrafts have also been kept ready at Naval Air Station, INS Dega to undertake aerial survey of the most affected areas, casualty evacuation and airdrop of relief material as required by the state administration.

Cyclone Bulbul hit India Saturday, leaving two dead as authorities in the country and in neighbouring Bangladesh ordered hundreds of thousands of people to get out of the path of the storm as it gained power. It may cross West Bengal-Khulna coast near the Sundarbans by the evening, the Met Office said. People in low-lying areas were being evacuated to shelter homes.