Cyclone Yaas: Army deploys 17 relief columns in West Bengal

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New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) The Indian Army has deployed 17 integrated relief columns, comprising specialised personnel with necessary equipment and inflatable boats, in West Bengal as cyclone Yaas approaches the country's eastern coast.

'The deployment of the Army columns is based on a requisition and is in close coordination with the government of West Bengal,' the Army said in a statement.

Cyclone Yaas is likely to make landfall near Dhamra Port in Odisha's Bhadrak district early on Wednesday morning and it can have a speed of 155 kmph to 165 kmph, gusting to 185 kmph, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had said on Monday.

The Army columns are equipped to undertake casualty evacuation of stranded or marooned persons, medical treatment, road clearing or tree cutting, and distribution of relief material, as would be required by the local district administration, the statement said.

'Columns have been pre-positioned at Purulia, Jhargram, Birbhum, Bardhaman, West Midnapur, Howrah, Hoogly, Nadia, 24 Parganas North & South,' the Army said.

Nine cyclone relief columns have also been kept on standby at Kolkata for redeployment, as necessary in West Bengal, at a short notice, it said.

The cyclone is likely to move north-northwestwards and intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours, the IMD said in its latest bulletin issued at 9.10 am on Tuesday.

Yaas has been moving north-northwestwards at a speed of 10 kmph during the past six hours. It lays centred around 320 km south-southeast of Paradip (Odisha), 430 km south-southeast of Balasore (Odisha) and 420 km south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal) at 5.30 am, the IMD said. PTI DSP ANB ANB

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