Cyclone Yaas batters Odisha and Bengal, leaves trail of destruction

Typhoon Yaas, which carried winds of up to 130-145 kmph, hit the east coast of the country on Wednesday, causing heavy rains, damaging homes and fields, leaving at least four people dead – three in Odisha and one in Bangal – officials said. Heavy rains blew the shoreline, as the storm caused a collapse at about 9 a.m. near the Dhamra harbor in Odisha, with rolling water leaking from mud and grass huts in low-lying areas, where a massive evacuation operation took more than 20 people to safety.

The weakest storm in the afternoon had left the coastal provinces, and the Bengal government says at least six million people have been affected by the disaster so far, as they are on a devastating road to Jharkhand.

Seawater flooded several villages in Bahanaga and Remuna block in the Balasore region, and in Dhamra and Basudevpur in the Badrak region, Odisha Special Special Commissioner PK Jena said.

The authorities, with the help of the local people, took steps to drain the salt water from the villages, Jena explained. Heavy rains in Similipal National Park in the Mayurbhanj region have caused fears of flooding in the Budhabalang River. In the afternoon, the water level in the river got a low at 21 meters compared to the dangerous level which was of 27 meters, said a special assistance commissioner.

Cyclone Yaas batters Odisha and Bengal, leaves trail of destruction
Cyclone Yaas batters Odisha and Bengal, leaves trail of destruction

The local sources say two people were killed – one in Keonjhar and the other in Balasore – after trees fell on them, but there was no official confirmation yet.

After the house collapsed an elderly woman in Mayurbhanj reportedly died.

 Work to restore power lines has begun in many parts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Jajpur counties after the cables were cut off, Jena said, adding that the storm could spread to Jharkhand at midnight. Odisha has moved 5.8 lakh people to safer areas, while West Bengal 15 lakh, before the storm, amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in temporary shelters.

The Bengal prime minister says his regime is “badly affected”, adding that three lakh houses and 134 ribs were damaged by the storm.

He also said that one person, who was initially saved, died “accidentally” later. Banerjee went on to say that R5 million in aid had gone to the affected areas.

The picturesque town of Digha in East Midnapore, which borders the Balasore region of Odisha, is flooded with water, and a military force has been called in to rescue, a security official said.

The Army has deployed 17 columns in West Bengal to assist management, a security official said.

Relief efforts were also underway in Orphuli in Howrah district, he said.

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