Published: Sun, November 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Cyclone Bulbul: Operations at Kolkata airport suspended

Cyclone Bulbul: Operations at Kolkata airport suspended

IndiGo airline on Saturday said it has implemented proactive cancellations and made alternate arrangements for its passengers in order to deal with severe cyclonic storm Bulbul, which is likely to make landfall between West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts by this evening.

More than 3000 shelters in 13 coastal districts have been opened and have enough room for some 1.8 million people, said Enamur Rahman, junior minister for disaster management and relief.

With Cyclone Bulbul intensifying into a very severe cyclonic storm and triggering heavy rains in West Bengal and Odisha, the two states are bracing for impact. "Orange Warning" has been issued for 9 and 10 November for districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur where heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely to be expected at isolated places.

HR Biswas, director of India Meteorological Department (IMD), Bhubaneswar, on Saturday said that heavy downpour with high-speed wind of 70-80 kmph is likely in the north coastal districts of Odisha due to the severe cyclonic storm "Bulbul".

He said there was no reports of casualties and rejected reports in local media that dozens of local fishermen were missing on the southern coast.

All schools and Anganwadi centres remained closed for the day in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Jajpur districts in view of the rough weather.

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Authorities also have suspended all activities in the country's main seaports including in Chittagong, which handles nearly 80% of exports and imports. It might also uproot trees, ruin crops and cause embankment erosion, he warned.

All flights at in and out of Kolkata airport were suspended for 12 hours and military planes and ships have been put on standby, Indian authorities said. The Naval Officers-in-Charge, West Bengal and Odisha are in constant liaison with respective state administrations for rendering assistance as required.

Bulbul is expected to make landfall near the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest and home to the endangered Bengal tigers.

In Odisha, around 4,000 people have so far been evacuated from vulnerable and low-lying areas in some coastal regions of the state and shifted to 47 cyclone shelters, officials said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed over the last few decades in cyclones, whose frequency and intensity have increased.

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