Mocha Bengal

South 24 Parganas, May 14: The Indian state of West Bengal is bracing for the impact of Cyclone Mocha, which has intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm. Civil defence teams have been deployed to Bakkhali Sea Beach in the South 24 Parganas district to warn the public and tourists to avoid the beach and nearby areas.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has sent eight teams and 200 rescuers to the nearby town of Digha, with 100 rescuers on standby. The West Bengal government has also relocated residents of low-lying and coastal areas to safe shelters stocked with essential items such as tarps, drinking water, and medicines.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Cyclone Mocha is expected to make landfall on Sunday along the Bangladesh-Myanmar line. Disaster management teams and metro volunteers have arrived in regions that are expected to be affected, such as Digha, Shankarpur, and Bakkhali, which attract tourists.

Tourists and fishermen have been advised not to venture into the water for at least three days, starting from Friday.

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The deployment of civil defence teams and NDRF rescuers aims to minimize the impact of the impending cyclone and prevent potential damage to life and property. West Bengal, a coastal state, is vulnerable to cyclones and severe storms, with the most recent example being Cyclone Amphan in May 2020.

Amphan, a category 5 storm, caused widespread destruction and loss of life in West Bengal and neighbouring Odisha.

In response to the threat posed by Cyclone Mocha, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has cancelled all her public rallies and meetings scheduled for Sunday. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have also been put on alert to assist with rescue and relief operations if required.

Cyclones and severe storms are not uncommon in the Bay of Bengal, which is a hotbed for tropical storms due to its warm waters and favourable weather conditions. In recent years, several cyclones have struck the eastern coast of India, causing widespread devastation and loss of life.

The IMD issues regular warnings and advisories to states and Union Territories likely to be affected by cyclones, urging them to take adequate precautionary measures to minimise damage and loss of life.