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Cyclone Yaas: Jharkhand on high alert, evacuation on amid cyclone threat

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Ranchi, May 26: Jharkhand, which was put on high alert, continued evacuating low-lying areas on Wednesday amid the forecast that cyclone Yaas would be hitting the state by midnight after pounding neighbouring Odisha and West Bengal, officials said.

Operations are being executed on war-footing in the vulnerable areas in East and West Singhbhum, besides some other districts, in view of the very severe cyclonic storm Yaas, Disaster Management Secretary Amitabh Kaushal told reporters.

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"We are witnessing high-speed wind and have evacuated about 6,000 persons from thatched houses and danger zones to shelter homes in safer locations," East Singhbhum Deputy Commissioner Suraj Kumar said. People are being shifted from low-lying areas near the two rivers in the district that are below the danger mark at present, he said.

Cyclone Yaas inundates large parts of Bengal's coastal districts; Cars floating in floodwaterCyclone Yaas inundates large parts of Bengal's coastal districts; Cars floating in floodwater

Many trees and electic poles were also uprooted in East Singhbhum due to high-speed winds, disrupting power supply, he added. Director-General of Police Neeraj Sinha said, "Satellite phones are being provided to interior Naxal- affected police stations for emergent communications, besides batteries in police wireless systems have been readied in case of communication disruptions due to the storm."

"We are ready to deal with the situation and have formed rescue teams," he added. East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Saraikela-Kharsawan districts of the state are likely to witness "very high seas" situation with wind speed of 92-117 kmph, the weather office said.

Cyclone Yaas: 38 passenger trains, five airports cancelledCyclone Yaas: 38 passenger trains, five airports cancelled

The districts of Sahibganj, Godda, Pakur, Garhwa and Palamu may witness "very rough seas" condition with a wind speed of 52-61 kmph. Rest of the state is likely to have "high to very high seas" phenomenon with a wind speed of 62-91 kmph, it said. This is the first time in the history of Jharkhand that it is facing such a severe cyclonic storm.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren has asked officials to be on their toes to deal with any emergency situation. COVID vaccination drives have been suspended till Thursday in some parts of the state in view of heavy rainfall and lightning, besides high-speed wind which is likely to uproot trees, officials said.

Door-to-door testing for COVID-19 has also been halted at many places, they said. The Disaster Management Department has alerted authorities to take immediate action as cities such as Ranchi are likely to be flooded due to heavy rainfall.

Cyclone Yaas: Officials cancel 38 long-distance South and Kolkata-bound passenger trainsCyclone Yaas: Officials cancel 38 long-distance South and Kolkata-bound passenger trains

Forest, Drinking Water and Sanitation, and Electricity officials have been asked to be on stand-by. They have been asked to chalk out alternative plans to deal with electric and water supply, besides clearing of roads in case of uprooting of trees, and ensuring satellite phones and wireless communication are ready as networks are likely to be hit badly.

Cyclone Yaas pounded the beach towns in north Odisha and West Bengal as it hit the coast around 9 am with a wind speed of 130-140 kmph, inundating the low-lying areas amid a storm surge, officials said. It is likely to move to Jharkhand with a lesser intensity by midnight, they said.

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