THIMPHU, May 20, 2020, Kuensel. With the “extremely severe” cyclone Amphan making landfall this afternoon, authorities have warned of possible floods, swollen streams, and asked residents near river banks to be alert for the next 72 hours starting 3:30pm today, Kuensel Online reported.
Department of Disaster Management (DDM) has cautioned everyone, especially those living in the south, to avoid travelling, ensure surroundings are safe and asked people to stay home. Residents are asked to ensure there are no loose lying objects in the neighbourhood.
The cyclone is expected to bring heavy to very heavy rain and thunderstorm with gusty wind to the southern and eastern parts of the country.
Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering asked everyone to stay vigilant and safe from the cyclone. In a press release, Lyonchhen asked local leaders to ensure all precautions in their respective jurisdiction, and closely monitor all the disaster, as well as perennially prone areas in the localities.
Lyonchhen said local authorities are supposed to know the perennially prone areas and have asked them to immediately secure the safety of vulnerable people and livestock. “Those at risks are to be evacuated to safe grounds by today morning,” a media release from the PMO stated.
While local authorities are already on it, the prime minister has asked them to ensure every household receives necessary advice through LG officials by tonight.
In a notification to local governments yesterday, the DDM asked local authorities to keep search and rescue and emergency equipment ready.
In keeping with weather updates from the National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology, disaster teams in the districts are closely following developments and ensuring the highest level of precaution.
DDM director-general Jigme Thinley Namgyal said that people should keep their torches ready and families in low-lying areas have to be alert and ready to move to higher ground or safety.
NCHM official said it is a windstorm season in the Bay of Bengal area and within the country as the weather transitions from spring to summer.
Tomorrow 3.30-7.30pm adjoining areas of West Bengal and Bangladesh about 942km from the landfall area will be affected.
NCHM will monitor and track the storm. It will also monitor the river level measuring stations to monitor the water levels.
NCHM official said that their computer modelling does not require evacuations. “However, what is important is to follow the regular updates from the department including its social media platforms.”
As of yesterday evening, cyclone Amphan’s wind speed in the Bay of Bengal was 200-240 kmph.
Indian reports cited National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials yesterday said cyclone could affect Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya are likely to be hit when it will make landfall. Indian officials said the storm was one of the most dangerous super cyclones to hit India in decades since a cyclone in 1999 killed more than 9,000 people.
Authorities in West Bengal and Bangladesh have evacuated hundreds of thousands to safety as the cyclone closes in.