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Embattled India prepares for second cyclone in 2 weeks after over 100 died in previous storm

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India’s east coast states are making preparations for Cyclone Yaas, which is due to make landfall on Wednesday morning, with authorities pooling rescue and relief teams just one week after a deadly cyclone hit Gujarat.

In a post on Monday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) described the weather system in the Bay of Bengal as a “very severe cyclonic storm.” 

“At 1130 IST, Cyclone ‘Yaas’ about 520 km south-southeast of Paradip. To intensify further and cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts,” the IMD added. 

The country’s National Disaster Management Authority has been sharing tips online, teaching countrymen and women how to best prepare themselves and their homes for the weather front. More than 16,000 homes were destroyed last week when Cyclone Tauktae swept through Gujarat. 

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said on Monday that he had been in touch with the chief ministers of West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh ahead of the storm’s arrival. 

The cyclone is expected to make landfall near Balasore, Odisha in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The Odisha government has brought in a large contingent of rescue and relief personnel in preparation, including more than 100 teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). 

Port Blair Airport has been shut and is likely to impact commercial flight operations, with heavy rain and wind of 20-35 knots (37-65 kmph) battering the coast.

Meanwhile fishermen have been warned not to go out as the cyclone intensifies. Tidal waves, between two and four meters high, are expected to cause considerable damage to low-lying parts of Jhargram, Medinipur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsighpur. 

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Those who are already out at sea have been advised to return to the coast.

The storm is scheduled to make landfall just one week after Cyclone Tauktae battered India’s west coast, leaving a trial of devastation before petering out over Gujarat. More than 100 were killed as the storm swept across Gujarat, but it also hit an offshore oilfield off Mumbai, where a total of 86 crew members and oil workers died. 

India’s efforts to fight the severe weather are being hampered as all resources have been directed to fighting the deadly resurgence of Covid-19, with more than 200,000 new cases recorded every day.

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