Bangladesh evacuates 300000 people ahead of Cyclone Bulbul

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It was centred about 35km southeast of Sagar Islands in Odisha, 80km east-southeast of Digha, and 125km south-southwest of Kolkata at 7:30pm on Saturday, the Indian Meteorological Department said.

Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department officials noted that the cyclonic storm "Bulbul" which is now centred over the west-central and adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal, about 310 km south-southeast of Paradip, has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm. The cyclone brought heavy rain and strong winds in several coastal districts of Odisha on Saturday.

The weatherman also said the severity of "Bulbul" will cause damage to kucha houses, roads, communication and power lines along its path in the coastal and adjoining districts of West Bengal.

Many areas in Odisha like Paradip, Chandbali, and Balasore received 159 mm, 143 mm, 32 mm of rainfall respectively.

Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is also expected over areas like West Medinipur, Howrah and Hooghly. Districts of East and West Midnapore, Purulia, Birbhum, Bankura and North and South 24 Parganas were put on high alert.

At the time of landfall, the storm is expected to weaken into a Severe Cyclonic Storm due to its interaction with dry air, higher vertical wind shear and close proximity to coastal proximity.

In West Bengal, flight operations at Kolkata airport were suspended for 12 hours and over 120,000 people have been evacuated.

A media report quoted a home ministry official as saying: "Due to very severe cyclone "Bulbul", operations at Kolkata airport is being suspend from 1800 hours on November 9 up to 0600 hours on November 10".

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"We have taken all precautionary measures to tackle the situation and to keep property and human losses at minimum levels", he told Reuters on Saturday.

Tropical cyclone Matmo has begun hitting the Odisha coast in eastern India, while continuing north of Bengal Bay.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who monitored the situation from the special control room set up at the secretariat, asked people not to panic.

Official sources said schools, colleges and anganwadi centres were kept closed and more than 1.2 lakh people have been rescued from vulnerable coastal areas.

She said Contai, Ramnagar and Khejuri were among the most affected areas in the storm.

Two teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action force and one of the National Disaster Response Force are on standby in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Jajpur districts.

The Kendrapara district administration has evacuated over 1,000 people.

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