India ramps up relief efforts after Cyclone Fani hits eastern coast

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2019   •   1694

Tropical Cyclone Fani lashed coastal areas of eastern India on May 3, 2019. | Courtesy: Reuters

Relief efforts gathered pace on Friday (May 3) as a powerful cyclone lashed coastal areas of eastern India with torrential rain and winds gusting up to 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph).

Tropical Cyclone Fani, the strongest to hit India in five years, spent days building up power in the northern reaches of the Bay of Bengal before it struck the coast of the state of Odisha at around 8 a.m. (0230 GMT), the state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Howling winds and driving rain impacted visibility in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state, leaving broken branches and felled trees strewn across the city’s streets.

Odisha had evacuated more than a million people from the most vulnerable communities along the low-lying coast, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Twitter.

Local authorities in the eastern seaport town of Paradeep said it was providing around 2,000 with hot meals across eight cyclone centres.

India’s cyclone season can last from April to December, when severe storms batter coastal cities and cause widespread deaths and damage to crops and property in both

India and neighbouring Bangladesh, but recent technological advances have helped meteorologists predict weather patterns more accurately and prepare. (REUTERS)

Locusts swarm across parts of India, attacking agricultural lands

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

Huge swarms of locusts took over the skies of Northern and Central India on Monday (May 25) and Sunday (May 24), affecting agricultural lands.

The pests were mostly seen across large states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

On Sunday, actions were taken in the city of Mandsaur, in central India, to contain the swarm by spraying pesticides.

One of the deadliest pests for farms produce, locusts are known to destroy crops and vegetables, and whatever they find in their way, in search of food.

Animals also get affected by eating the same leaves as the locusts and can suffer from diarrhoea.

Locust swarms are not new in East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. But climate scientists say erratic weather linked to climate change has created ideal conditions for the insects to surge in numbers not seen in a quarter of a century.

If allowed to breed unchecked in favourable conditions, locusts can form huge swarms that can strip trees and crops over vast areas. (Reuters)

(Production: ANI, Hanna Rantala, Gabriela Boccaccio)

Cyclone Amphan tears into India; destroys homes, whips up storm surge

UNTV News   •   May 21, 2020

A powerful cyclone tore into eastern India and Bangladesh on Wednesday (May 20), destroying mud houses and embankments and whipping up a storm surge along the coast, officials said, after millions of people were moved out of its path.

At least one 70-year-old man was killed by a falling tree in Bangladesh’s coastal Bhola district, a police official said. The low-lying country has evacuated 2.4 million people to shelters.

Another 650,000 people have been moved to safety in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal, authorities said, an operation carried out amid surging coronavirus infections.

It was too early to estimate a toll on life or damage to property.

Cyclone Amphan began moving inland with winds gusting up to 185 kph, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the India Meteorological Department, told reporters.

Mohapatra said that the storm surge could rise to around five metres in the Sundarbans delta, home to around four million people and thick mangrove forests that are a critical tiger habitat.

The storm will also sweep past Kolkata, a sprawling city of 4.5 million people, where strong winds uprooted trees and electricity poles, littering several streets, television showed.

A home ministry official said authorities in West Bengal and neighbouring Odisha had struggled to house thousands of evacuees as shelters were being used as coronavirus quarantine centres.

Extra shelters were being prepared in markets and government buildings with allowances made for social distancing, while masks were being distributed to villagers.

Police in West Bengal said some people were unwilling to go to the shelters because they were afraid of being infected by the coronavirus and many were refusing to leave their livestock. (Reuters)

(Production: Peter Brownlie, Mussab Al-Khairalla)

Super cyclone brings heavy rain, tidal waves to eastern India

UNTV News   •   May 20, 2020

Heavy rains and winds lashed two eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal hours before a powerful cyclone made landfall on Wednesday (May 20), with rescue teams evacuating millions of villagers to higher ground in an operation complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The weather department in India said Amphan had slowed and was likely to cross the coast near West Bengal state or Bangladesh around 2:30 p.m. (0900 GMT).

An Indian federal home ministry official said West Bengal and neighbouring Odisha state were struggling to house thousands of evacuees as existing shelters were being used as coronavirus quarantine centers.

Extra shelters were being prepared in wholesale markets and government buildings with allowances made for social distancing, while masks and scarves were being distributed among the villagers. (Reuters)

(Production: Peter Brownlie, Tanya Lezaic)

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