Operations at Kolkata airport will be suspended from 6 pm on Saturday to 6 am on Sunday due to Cyclone Bulbul, PTI reported, citing officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The cyclone is expected to make a landfall around the Sagar island in the Sunderbans delta between 8 pm and 10 pm on Saturday.

At 2.30 pm, the cyclone was 85 km south of Sagar Islands, reported News18. The weather department has warned of heavy to extremely heavy rainfall with winds speed up to 120 kmph. The India Meteorological Department office in Kolkata said the wind speed in the state capital will be around 50 km per hour, gusting to a maximum of 70 km per hour.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state administration was closely monitoring the situation. “Special Control Rooms have been set up,” she tweeted. Sixteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force are on alert. Ships, aircraft and specialised teams of the Coast Guard, the Indian Navy, the Army and the Air Force are also on standby.

“Schools, colleges and anganwadi centres have been closed and more than 1,20,000 people have already been rescued from the vulnerable coastal areas.” People in low-lying areas were being evacuated to shelter homes.

On its way to West Bengal, the cyclone triggered heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Odisha on Saturday. Paradip received 159 mm of rain in the last 24 hours. It was followed by Chandbali with 143 mm and Balasore 32 mm.

The Kendrapara district administration has evacuated over 1,000 people. More than 1,500 persons have been moved to safety in Balasore and Jagatsinghpur districts. Hundreds of trees were found uprooted in Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Bhadrak districts.

Bangladesh evacuates thousands ahead of cyclone

The Bangladesh government has ordered the evacuation of 18 lakh people from the country’s coastal areas. Local authorities have ordered school buildings and mosques to be used as shelters, reported BBC. Sea ports like Mongla and Chittagong are on high alert.

“The government has taken adequate measures to face very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul,” said Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman, according to Dhaka Tribune. He added that 14,000 packets of dry food have been allocated to the people of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola and Pirojpur districts.

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