Storm surge triggered by Cyclone Yaas and spring tide inflict heavy damage in East Midnapore

Storm surge triggered by Cyclone Yaas and spring tide inflict heavy damage in East Midnapore

Biswabrata Goswami

MIDNAPORE, 26 MAY: At least 10 blocks including coastal blocks of East Midnapore witnessed an extensive damage due to the storm surge triggered by Cyclone Yaas, which coincided with the perigean spring tide of Wednesday’s full moon.

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The damages mostly occurred due to the seawater ingress into the coastal villages rather than the damages caused by the storm, an administrative official said.

Around 9.30 am, when the Cyclone Yaas made landfall near Dhamra port in Odisha, the water level of the sea rose to four meter above the astronomical tide (spring tide) which lashed on the embankment of Digha causing a widespread inundation. The situation was so worst that it seemed the sea has progressed about three kilometers to five kilometers towards the coastal lands.

As a result, shops, holiday homes, government offices, police station, state general hospital and other establishments in Digha have been flooded. It was seen that sea waves touched coconut trees. Cars placed in different roads connected to the sea embankment of Old and New Digha were seen floating. Several shops and buildings were also damages due to the cyclonic storm razed with the speed of around 110 kmph.

The major part of the sea embankment from Digha to Sankarpur has been damaged extensively. At many places, sea embankments were breached due to the tidal waves crashed as high waves, carving out parts of it, cracking the walls of the embankment.

Several river embankments have also been breached in East Midnapore. Hundreds of villages have been inundated in Sonachura and Kendemari areas in Nadigram as river water overflowed. At few places, river water gushed into the villages through the breached embankment.

According to the reports available to the district administration, the areas which have been affected badly, are Digha, Sankarpur, Tajpur, Mandamoni, Dadan Patra Bar, Soula, Boguran Jalpai, Junput, Bankiput, Shyamchawk, Rasulpur, Khejuri, Nandigram, Haldia Township, Ramnagar-I and II block, Mahisadal, Tamluk and Patashpur.

High tidal waves flooded over 100 coastal villages in East Midnapore as well as Digha, affecting nearly 1 lakh people and leaving thousands homeless.

Over 500 mud huts collapsed since last night, rendering over 2,000 people homeless. The villagers have been shifted to relief camps set up by panchayats in Shankarpur, Deshpran, Tajpur, Khejuri and Kendamari in Nandigram and other parts of the district.

The district administration has evacuated 1.1 lakh people from the affected areas to the cyclone centers or schools. More evacuation is going on as NDRF and Army jawans are working in many affected areas.

Due to heavy rainfall, hundreds of acres of low-lying areas in the coastal belt have been inundated. Haripada Jana, 48, a fisherman from the coastal village of Tajpur, about 10 km from Digha, said the sea began to swell around 8 pm yesterday.

“There was chest-deep water in most parts of the village by 11 p.m. yesterday. The winds were so strong that my hut collapsed in front of my eyes. This morning, we took shelter at a relief camp set up at a primary school in our village,” Haripada said.

“Around 500 people from our village and neighbouring areas have taken shelter at the camp.”

Torrential rain lashed the district throughout Saturday, forcing people to remain indoors. Gale force winds with gusts up to 110 kmph prevailed over the coastal areas of the district and its adjoining areas as the cyclone made landfall around 10 am today.

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