India, Bangladesh brace for cyclone Remal: PM Modi reviews readiness, flights suspended, navy on standby; Key points | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Cyclone Remal, the first storm of the year, has begun the landfall process over the coastal regions of West Bengal and Bangladesh. The process is expected to persist for the upcoming four hours. Currently positioned over the North Bay of Bengal, cyclone Remal is projected to traverse northwards, situated approximately 130 km southeast of Sagar Islands in West Bengal, 140 km southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh, 140 km southeast of Canning in West Bengal, and 160 km southwest of Mongla in Bangladesh.
According to the IMD, the cyclone is anticipated to make landfall along the coasts of Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal by midnight today. During this time, cyclone Remal is expected to bring maximum wind speeds ranging from 110 to 120 kilometres per hour, posing potential risks to the affected areas.
India has taken precautionary measures, deploying its disaster relief force in West Bengal. Flights have been suspended at Kolkata, a major metropolitan city in the state. Some parts of West Bengal are already experiencing moderate rainfall.
The Indian Navy said that it has “kept ships, aircraft, divers and medical supplies on standby for deployment if required.” The low-lying coastal regions of Bangladesh and India have been hit by severe storms in recent years, with Cyclone Yaas in 2021 leaving more than 50,000 people homeless and causing at least one fatality.
In Bangladesh, the weather office has raised its storm danger signal to the highest level for two ports and nine coastal districts. Warnings are being announced over loudspeakers, and evacuations have begun in coastal areas. State minister for disaster management and relief, Mohibbur Rahman, informed Reuters that “Bangladesh has set up nearly 8,000 cyclone shelters and mobilised 78,000 volunteers.”
When and where is cyclone Remal expected to hit land?
Severe cyclonic storm ‘Remal’ has intensified and the landfall process has begun. It was expected to make landfall between the coasts of Bangladesh and West Bengal by midnight on Sunday, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 110-120 km/h, gusting up to 135 km/h, according to the meteorological department. The cyclone is anticipated to bring extremely heavy rainfall to the coastal districts of West Bengal and heavy to very heavy rain to Kolkata and its surrounding areas.
The cyclone is projected to move nearly northwards, intensify further, and cross the coasts between Sagar Island and Khepupara, near southwest Mongla in Bangladesh, by midnight on Sunday. It will do so as a severe cyclonic storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 110-120 km/h, gusting up to 135 km/h, the weather office reported.
In order to prevent destruction, authorities in India and Bangladesh are bracing for the year’s first cyclone.
Here are the top developments:
PM Modi chairs a meeting to review preparedness
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on Sunday to assess the readiness and response measures for the impending cyclonic storm Remal. The meeting aimed to ensure that all necessary steps were being taken to minimize the impact of the cyclone and protect the lives and property of those in the affected areas.
Expressing concern over Remal, the Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose said that he is vigilantly observing the unfolding situation and maintaining regular communication with experts at both the state and central levels to ensure a well-coordinated response in countering the cyclone’s impact. Bose stressed the paramount importance of ensuring the safety of residents residing in the coastal areas of Bengal, strongly advising them to comply with the established standard operating procedures (SOPs) specifically designed for cyclonic events.
“Governor Bose is keeping a watch on the situation and is in touch with experts and authorities in the state and the Centre for a coordinated effort to endure the cyclone,” the West Bengal Raj Bhavan posted on X.
Indian Navy intensifies preparation for cyclone ‘Remal’
The Indian Navy has taken proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the population affected by cyclone Remal. Two ships have been equipped with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) supplies and medical provisions, ready for immediate deployment when needed. The Navy also informed that Indian Naval aviation assets, including Sea King and Chetak helicopters as well as Dornier aircraft, are on standby for rapid response.
Specialized diving teams, along with their equipment, have been strategically positioned in Kolkata to provide swift assistance. Furthermore, additional diving teams and their gear are on standby in Visakhapatnam, prepared for rapid deployment if the situation demands it.
Two flood relief teams (FRTs) have been stationed in Kolkata, equipped with HADR supplies and medical provisions. Moreover, four more FRTs, two each from Visakhapatnam and Chilka, are on standby, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.
Ahead of cyclone Remal, air, rail, road traffic hit in Bengal
The approaching severe cyclone Remal has caused major disruptions to transportation in Kolkata and other regions of South Bengal on Sunday, with the impact likely to persist into Monday. As a safety measure, Kolkata airport has halted flight operations for 21 hours starting Sunday noon.
Moreover, the Eastern and South Eastern railways have cancelled numerous trains. From Sunday morning, South Bengal districts experienced sporadic rainfall and strong winds, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of buses, taxis, and three-wheelers operating on the streets of Kolkata and district towns.
On Monday, disturbances in road and rail transportation are expected due to the cyclone’s landfall, which is predicted to occur by midnight on Sunday.
Eastern railway implements safety measures
Eastern railway has established helpline numbers at Howrah and Sealdah stations in anticipation of Remal developing into a severe cyclonic storm on Sunday.
The railway has taken various precautionary measures to ensure safety and minimize the impact of the cyclone. These include the activation of a disaster management team, round-the-clock monitoring of control rooms by senior officers, regular monitoring of wind speed at multiple locations, continuous monitoring of cyclone-related information, and maintaining close communication with the Meteorological department.
The helpline numbers issued at Sealdah are 033-23508794 (DOT) & 033- 23833326 (Auto Phone), while the helpline number issued at Howrah is 033-26413660 (DOT).
Remal to impact several districts of Odisha
The meteorological department has cautioned four districts in Odisha about the possibility of heavy rainfall due to the approaching cyclone Remal. The districts of Bhadrak, Balasore, Kendrapara, and Mayurbhanj are expected to receive rainfall ranging from 7 to 11 cm.
In response to the warning, Satyabrata Sahu, the special relief commissioner (SRC), conducted a review of the preparedness measures taken by the collectors of the four districts, according to officials.
Officials also reported that approximately 20,000 fishing boats have been securely anchored. The collectors of the four districts have been directed to deploy the Odisha disaster rapid action force (ODRAF) and fire services if the need arises.
Over 100,000 people relocated to safe shelters in Bengal’s coastal areas
In response to the looming threat posed by the severe cyclone Remal, the West Bengal government has taken proactive measures to safeguard its citizens. According to a senior official, approximately 1.10 lakh people have been relocated from vulnerable coastal areas to secure shelters as of Sunday.
Tripura issues red alert for four districts
The Tripura government issued a red alert for four districts, namely South, Dhalai, Khowai, and West. Brijesh Pandey, the revenue secretary, informed that the chief secretary held a meeting with the state executive committee of disaster management and various stakeholders to assess the preparedness for ‘Remal’. The meeting was attended by officials from the revenue and meteorological departments, Airports Authority of India, and security forces.
“Thunderstorms with lightning, squally winds reaching speeds of 60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, and heavy to very heavy rainfall are likely in isolated areas of South, Dhalai, Khowai, and West Tripura districts on May 27. Hence, a red alert has been issued in these four districts,” Pandey said.
He also mentioned that orange and yellow alerts have been issued for the remaining districts for May 27 and 28. Pandey assured that the state is fully prepared to handle any unforeseen events caused by the cyclonic storm. As a precautionary measure, the state executive committee has decided to declare holidays in all schools on May 27 and 28.
Over 8 lakh people evacuated in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is bracing for Remal, which made landfall today, bringing with it the potential for high tidal surges and heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Satkhira and Cox’s Bazar. The Bangladesh meteorological department (BMD) has issued “great danger signal” no 10 for the southwestern greater Barisal and its shoals, and great danger signal no nine for the southeastern coastlines, including the port city of Chattogram.
According to the latest met office bulletin, as reported by the BSS news agency, “Under the peripheral effect of the severe cyclone and steep pressure gradient, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts…and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by a wind-driven surge of 08-12 feet height above normal astronomical tide.”
In response to the impending storm, over 800,000 people from vulnerable areas have been evacuated to cyclone centres and other safer places. The authorities have launched an intensified evacuation campaign to ensure the safety of all vulnerable people, as the met office has asked Payra and Mongla ports to hoist great danger signal number 10, while issuing nine for Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram ports this morning.
(with inputs from agencies)


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