Cyclone Yaas: 3 ICG ships approaching West Bengal, Odisha coasts to do 'situational assessment'

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New Delhi, May 26 (PTI) Three ships of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) were approaching the coasts of West Bengal and Odisha to do 'situational assessment' after Cyclone Yaas hit these shores on Wednesday morning, the Defence Ministry said.

Moreover, at the request of the West Bengal government, the ICG has deployed its disaster relief teams (DRT) at Digha and Contai for assistance, it said.

The ICG's air cushion vehicle also rescued about 100 stranded people at Nayachar in West Bengal, the ministry said.

'The rescue operation is in progress. The DRT (of ICG) also assisted in evacuation of locals at Contai. Other DRTs with inflatable boats, life buoys and lifejackets are also standing by across West Bengal and Odisha, and being deployed as per the requirement raised by state authorities,' it said.

Medical teams and ambulances have also been kept on standby by the ICG for swift mobilisation.

'Three ICG ships, which were strategically positioned at sea for possible search and rescue missions, are approaching the Odisha and West Bengal coast for carrying out close to coast situational assessment while also sanitising the area,' the ministry said.

Cyclone 'Yaas', packing winds of up to 130-145 kmph, whiplashed the country's eastern coasts on Wednesday, dumping heavy rain, damaging houses and farmlands, and leaving at least four persons dead- three in Odisha and one in Bengal -- officials said.

Thick sheets of rain blurred the vast coastline, as the cyclone made landfall around 9 am near Dhamra port in Odisha, with surging waters swamping the mud-and-thatch houses in the low-lying areas, where a massive evacuation drive has been undertaken to move more than 20 lakh people to safety.

The storm, which had weakened during the afternoon, had left the coastal states on edge, with the West Bengal government claiming that at least one crore people have been affected by the calamity thus far, as it hollered on its destructive path towards Jharkhand. PTI DSP SNE