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Tropical Cyclone Yaas - May 2021

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Cyclone tropical

The Deep Depression over Eastcentral Bay of Bengal intensified into Cyclonic Storm ‘Yaas’ and lay centred at 05:30 hrs (LT) over Eastcentral Bay of Bengal, about 540 km south-southeast of Paradip (Odisha) and 630 km south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal). In the next 24 hours it is expected to intensify into a Severe Cyclonic Storm and likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip (Odisha) and Sagar islands (West Bengal) around 26 May as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm with wind speed from 155 to 165 kmph, gusting at 185 kmph. In India, State governments of West Bengal and Odisha, also impacted by TC Amphan in 2020, are on high alert. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed. State Government of West Bengal have ordered the evacuation of people from low-lying areas. In Bangladesh, all ports have been advised to hoist distant warning signal number two. Heavy rainfall is expected to hit several parts of the country. A total of 3 million people may be exposed, of which 1 million may observe high impact as of today’s impact-based forecast model. Preparedness and coordination activities are ongoing with civil society and Government authorities, challenged by COVID-19, including in the refugee areas in Cox’s Bazar. In Sri Lanka, Meteorological Department has issued red alert for heavy rains above 150 mm and strong wind up to 55 kmph in southern part (Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern provinces) of the country. (ECHO, 24 May 2021)

Tropical Cyclone Yaas has formed over the Bay of Bengal from a deep depression and is moving towards the north-eastern coast of India. Yaas is predicted to make landfall over the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal on 26 May with wind speeds of up to 185 km/h and potential storm surge of more than 3.5 meters along coastal areas of India and Bangladesh. Due to full moon and high tide, the height of the storm surge could increase by an additional one meter or more. Authorities in eastern India are evacuating at least one million people from low-lying areas and areas prone to storm surge and have mobilized rescue and relief teams. While the impact of Yaas is expected to be less severe in Bangladesh, authorities in the Barisal Division are preparing to evacuate about two million people. Disaster Management Committees in coastal districts are preparing cyclone shelters and are pre-positioning emergency supplies. Yaas comes only a week after Cyclone Tauktae battered the western coast of India as the first tropical storm this season. (OCHA 25 May 2021)

Following the passage of Tropical cyclone YAAS that made landfall over the northern coast of Odisha on 26 May, the number of casualties has been increasing. According to media reports, in India, six people have died and approximately 22,000 houses have been damaged across the States of Odisha and West Bengal. In addition, airports in Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar have been temporarily closed and train services were cancelled. In Bangladesh, 15,000 people have been displaced across 200 villages as their homes, shops and farms have been flooded. (ECHO, 27 May 2021)

As of 31 May, in India, an estimated 300,000 houses were destroyed or damaged as sea waters along the Bengal coast and rivers started swelling and breached embankments. In West Bengal, more than 4,600 villages were affected, and about 230,000 people are displaced across 14,000 relief camps. According to authorities in the neighboring state of Odisha, more than 128 villages have been severely affected across ten districts. In Bangladesh, tidal surge combined with the collapse of embankments flooded low-lying coastal areas in the districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bhola, Patuakhali and Borguna, leaving at least four people dead, displacing about 15,000 people across 200 villages, and damaging or destroying thousands of houses, farm land and fish enclosures. Challenges in maintaining social distancing and limited availability of sanitation facilities in emergency shelters may complicate efforts to halt the surge in COVID-19 cases at a time when the region is battling with another wave of infections. (OCHA, 31 May 2021)

Cyclone YAAS did not directly make landfall in Bangladesh as forecasted. However, coinciding with the full moon, a tidal surge across the coastal belt area resulted in broken embankments in many places and inundated houses and forced people into temporary displacement or living in a marooned situation. According to the Need Assessment Working Group (NAWG) report dated 6 June, the cyclonic event affected approximately 1.3 million people, damaged around 26,000 houses as well as 16,183 latrines and 1,986 water points in 9 coastal districts. The most affected districts are Bhola, Patuakhali, Sathkira, Bagerhat and Barguna. It is also estimated that around 39 percent of croplands have been damaged and 3,599 hectares of prawn and fish cultivation area affected. As of 6 June, according to the control room of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and health emergency operation centre (EoC), the number of deaths was three. (IFRC, 25 Jun 2021)