The Komen effect: Bengal braces for heavy rain

Kolkata, July 30 (IANS) Over 26,000 people have been moved to relief camps as West Bengal – where 12 deaths were reported due to rains and floods over the past few days – gears up to face heavy to very heavy rainfall following a deep depression over Bay of Bengal intensifying into cyclonic storm “Komen”, top officials said on Thursday.

According to the met office forecast, heavy to very heavy rainfall will occur at a few places with isolated extremely heavy falls over Gangetic West Bengal Thursday and Friday.

“Expected to cross Bangladesh coast during the day, Komen would move west-northwestwards and weaken gradually,” the met office said.

Heavy rains have also been predicted at isolated places in Bihar, and Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts of sub-Himalayan West Bengal.

Fishermen have been warned not to venture into the sea off the West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar coasts in the next 72 hours.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who cut short her five day Britain visit and rushed back to Kolkata, said 26,000 people have been shifted to relief camps while state Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan said at least 12 people have died across the state due to flooding.

“Red alert has already been sounded in all the districts of south Bengal and we are all prepared to tackle any emergency. So far we have received reports of 12 deaths from across the state due to the flooding over the past few days,” he said.

Khan said relief camps have been set up in the affected areas across south and northern Bengal and disaster management personnel were working at war footing to carry out rescue and relief work.

“Our priority is to provide relief to stranded people and carry on with rescue operations. So far 26,000 people have been shifted to relief camps,” Banerjee told media persons at the city airport.

“We did aerial survey of the flooded areas in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas district and met senior state government officials at the airport itself,” she added.

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