One death each has been reported from West Bengal and Odisha due to heavy rain triggered by the very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul.
The cyclone made landfall around 8.30pm between Sagar Island and Frazerganj.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said it would take at least three hours to pass the Sunderbans. All of Bakkhali was plunged into darkness as the storm hit power lines. Trees were uprooted and roads blocked. Residents were seen rushing to local hotels for shelter. Officials said Kendrapara district resident Ganeswar Mallick died after a sheet of asbestos landed on him. In Kolkata, the victim died after a tree fell on the person in a prominent club.
Watch | At least 2 dead as Cyclone Bulbul hits West Bengal
Odisha special relief commissioner PK Jena said strong winds were recorded in other Odisha coastal districts of Bhadrak, Jagatsingpur and Balasore, uprooting trees and snapping electrical wires, disrupting power supply.
Six National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and 18 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams, along with fire services personnel, were engaged in rescue operations. Over 5,000 persons in the affected areas had been evacuated. In Bhadrak district, eight fishermen who were rescued by ODRAF team after their boat capsized in the Bay of Bengal.
In West Bengal, flight operations at Kolkata airport were suspended for 12 hours and over 120,000 people have been evacuated. “Pperations at Kolkata airport will be discontinued till 6 am Sunday,” an airport official said.
The storm is likely to weaken gradually and move northeastwards and cross West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts between Sagar island and Bangladesh’s Khepurpara across Sundarban delta as a severe cyclonic storm.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who monitored the situation from the special control room set up at the secretariat, asked people not to panic. “Our state administration is monitoring the situation 24×7. We are taking all measures to tackle any contingency,” she tweeted.
“A lot of property has been damaged already. So far, 1.12 lakh people have been moved to relief centres. We will provide compensation to the affected people,” Banerjee added.
A high alert is on in the coastal districts amid apprehensions that the storm may impact parts of 24 Parganas North, 24 Parganas South, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Howrah, Kolkata and Jhargram. Regional MET centre director G C Das said, “Kolkata is away from the core area of Bulbul. The impact will be limited to a wind speed of 50-70 kmph along with heavy rain.”