Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday urged people in West Bengal and Odisha to stay indoors and follow the instructions issued by the administration in the aftermath of severe cyclonic storm 'Amphan', which left a trail of devastation in the two states on Wednesday before moving towards Bangladesh.
After the cyclone claimed over a dozen lives in West Bengal besides destroying houses, roads and public utilities in the two states, Shah assured that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed towards the safety and security of every citizen.
He said that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were already on ground to help the people in need as over 7 lakh people -- 5 lakh from West Bengal and 2 lakh from Odisha -- were evacuated before the cyclone made its landfall on Wednesday afternoon.
"I urge people of West Bengal and Odisha to stay indoors and follow instructions. Praying for everyone's safety and well-being," Shah tweeted.
The Home Minister said that the Central government has been monitoring the cyclone Amphan, a Thai name that means sky, and is in continuous touch with the concerned authorities.
A day after wreaking havoc in West Bengal and Odisha after barreling in from the Bay of Bengal with wind speed of up to 185 kmph, Amphan on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh with a wind speed of 27 kmph.
It moved "north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during the past six hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday over Bangladesh near latitude 24.7 degrees N and Longitude 89.5 degrees E about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh)," the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Amphan is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999. West Bengal has informed the Centre that there were major damages to agriculture, power and telecommunication facilities in the cyclone-affected areas, while Odisha informed that damages have been mainly limited to agriculture.