New Delhi/Kolkata/Bhubaneswar:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a high level meeting today to review the preparedness of States and Central Ministries/Agencies concerned to deal with the situation arising out of Cyclone ‘Yaas’.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed that Cyclone ‘Yaas’ is expected to cross West Bengal and north Odisha coasts by 26th May evening with the wind speed ranging 155- 165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph. It is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal and north Odisha. IMD has also warned of storm surge of about  2- 4m in costal areas of West Bengal & Odisha. IMD has been issuing regular bulletins with latest forecast to all the concerned states.

Modi directed senior officers to work in close co-ordination with states to ensure safe evacuation of people from high-risk areas. He also instructed all concerned departments to ensure timely evacuation of those involved in off-shore activities. He spoke about the need to ensure that time duration of outages of power supply and communication network are minimum and are restored swiftly.

PM also asked officials to ensure proper co-ordination and planning with state governments to ensure no disruptions in Covid treatment and vaccination in hospitals.

He also spoke about the need to involve district administrations in the process of planning and preparedness for better learning from best practices and seamless co-ordination.

PM directed officials that advisories and instructions on do’s and dont’s during the cyclone be made available in easy to understand and local language to citizens of the affected districts.

PM spoke about the need to involve various stakeholders i.e. coastal communities, industries, etc by directly reaching out to them and sensitising them.

PM was informed that the cabinet secretary has taken a meeting of National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) on 22nd May 2021, with Chief Secretaries of all the Coastal States and UTs and Central Ministries/ Agencies concerned. 

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is reviewing the situation 24*7 and is in touch with the State Governments/ UTs and the Central Agencies concerned. MHA has already released first instalment of SDRF in advance to all States.

NDRF has pre-positioned 46 teams which are equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipments etc. in 5 States/ UT. In addition, 13 teams are being airlifted today for deployment and has kept 10 teams on standby.

Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief, search and rescue operations. Air Force and Engineer task force units of Army, with boats and rescue equipment, are on standby for deployment. Seven ships with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Units are on standby along western coast. 

Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has taken measures to secure all oil installations in the sea and to bring back their shipping vessels to safe harbour.

Ministry of Power has activated emergency response systems and is keeping in readiness transformers, DG sets and equipments etc. for immediate restoration of electricity. Ministry of Telecom is keeping all the telecom towers and exchanges under constant watch and is fully geared to restore telecom network. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued advisory to the Sates/ UTs, likely to be affected, for health sector preparedness and response on COVID in affected areas. Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways has taken measures to secure all shipping vessels and has deployed emergency vessels (Tugs).

NDRF is assisting the State agencies in their preparedness for evacuating people from the vulnerable locations and is also continuously holding community awareness campaign on how to deal with the cyclonic situation. 

The meeting was attended by Home Minister, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of Ministries/ Departments of Home, Telecommunications, Fisheries, Civil Aviation, Power, Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Earth Sciences, Chairman Railway Board, Members & Member Secretary of NDMA, Director Generals of IMD and NDRF, and senior officers of PMO, MHA.

West Bengal

The West Bengal government has taken all precautionary measures to deal with Cyclone Yaas, likely to hit the state on May 26, and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will stay at a control room set up for the purpose to monitor the situation, officials said on Saturday, Banerjee, who held a high-level meeting at the state secretariat during the day, said that relief materials were dispatched to vulnerable areas, while officials were directed for early evacuation of people from coastal and riverine areas.

''I have extensively reviewed the Disaster Management preparedness with regards to the impending Yaas cyclone today afternoon with all senior officers of relevant Central & State agencies along with DMs & SPs,'' Banerjee tweeted.

''All officials have been advised integrated command, advance planning & early evacuation from coastal & riverine areas to rescue shelters including cyclone & flood shelters, and to conduct relief and rehabilitation operations at the earliest,'' she added.

The state government has set 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, Banerjee said.

''All agencies have been asked to spring into action.

Relief materials have been dispatched & Quick Response Teams are mobilised. I request all to stay alert,'' she said in the Twitter post.

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

''The CM will remain present at the control room in Nabanna on the days when the cyclone is about to hit the coastal areas of the state. She will be accompanied by other senior officers of the government,'' he said.

All precautionary measures have been taken by the administration, the officer added.

A low-pressure area formed over the east-central Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm by May 25. The storm, named Cyclone Yaas, may move towards West Bengal, Odisha and Bangladesh around May 26 morning, the Met department said.

The system is very likely to cross the coasts of the two states and the neighbouring country around May 26 evening.

Wind speed is very likely to reach 90 to 100 km per hour gusting to 110 kmph from May 26 forenoon along and off West Bengal, north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts and increase thereafter till May 26 evening, the Met office said.


With Odisha bracing for cyclonic storm Yass, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday reviewed the state's preparedness and asked officials to evacuate people from low-lying areas.

Noting that saving human lives is the topmost priority of his government, Patnaik asked collectors and SPs of coastal districts to ensure that not a single person is left in the vulnerable situation before the onset of the cyclonic storm.

The state government has placed 14 districts, including Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur, on alert.

Evacuating people to safe places is most essential, Patnaik said, adding that special care should be given to children, pregnant women and elderly persons.

He directed Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra to monitor the preparedness of the district administrations daily and suggest measures to them.

He also asked the administrations of coastal districts to prepare for heavy rain and wind even though India Meteorological Department is yet to make an exact forecast about the landfall of the cyclone.

A low-pressure area formed over the east-central Bay of Bengal on Saturday, which is likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and move towards West Bengal, adjoining north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts around May 26 morning, the Met Department said.

The system is very likely to cross the coasts of the two states and the neighbouring country on May 26 evening, it said.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said people in all cyclone shelters will be provided with masks and arrangements for their health check-up will be made by rapid response teams.

If any person tests positive for the coronavirus infection in cyclone centres, he or she will be shifted to COVID hospitals.

Patnaik asked the administrations to depute personnel of the National Disaster Response Force and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force in places where the cyclonic could wreak havoc.

''Personnel of ODRAF, NDRF and Fire Services in vulnerable areas will leave for their designated areas from Sunday morning,'' he said.

The state has 17 NDRF teams, 20 ODRAF and around 150 Fire Services groups, he said.

Secretaries of water resources, housing and urban development and public works departments are in talks with district authorities for mobilisation of workers.

Jena said all the fishermen, who had gone to the deep sea for fishing, have so far returned to the coast.

''Now no more people from the community are being allowed to venture into the sea,'' he said, adding that farmers have also been requested to keep the harvested crops in a safe place.

The SRC said several agencies such as UNICEF and UNDP and many civil society organisations have assured all possible help to the district administrations in the evacuation of people, shelter management and post-cyclone restoration and rehabilitation works.

He said arrangements have been made for supplying drinking water to COVID hospitals and other medical facilities in vulnerable districts.

Steps are being taken to admit pregnant women, whose expected delivery is in the next two weeks, to government hospitals, Jena said.

The telecom department is trying to ensure that possible inconvenience in the mobile network due to the impending cyclone can be addressed at the earliest.

He also said the energy department has started mobilising necessary materials and manpower to vulnerable areas.