Yas will likely land in West Bengal and Odisha on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Indian Meteorological Department. The hurricane, which has winds of up to 165 kilometers per hour and torrential rains, will complicate efforts to combat Covid-19. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 300,000 lives in India so far.
Pankim Chandra Hazra, the regional development minister for mangrove forests in West Bengal, said the cyclone was a devastating blow to many people in coastal areas already affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and deaths from the disease. “Nearly half a million people are being evacuated from their homes in the coastal area, which is a great pledge to provide them with shelter where they can stay at a sufficient distance from each other,” the minister added.
According to the state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, authorities are trying to provide hospitals with enough oxygen and medicine to meet needs as the hurricane passes by.
According to the local press in Odisha state, 1.4 million people have been evacuated from coastal areas, while thousands of emergency and disaster response personnel are on site.