The severe cyclonic storm Bulbul, after making landfall at a speed of 110 to 120 kmph between West Bengal’s Sagar Islands and Khepupara in Bangladesh on Sunday early in the morning, is now likely to weaken gradually as it moves towards coastal Bangladesh and adjoining South and North 24 Parganas districts of Bengal, says India Meteorological Department.

Heavy rains lashed coastal West Bengal throughout Saturday, uprooting trees. Gale wind with gusts up to 135kmph prevailed off the coastal and adjoining districts of West and East Midnapore, South and North 24 Parganas as the eye of the storm made landfall around midnight. Two lives have been lost, one each in Bengal and Odisha, due to heavy rain triggered by the very severe cyclonic storm.

At least 75 passengers of a cruise ship in the Bay of Bengal were rescued by the West Bengal police while Severe Cyclone Bulbul raged on Saturday, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said. “These people did not know about the calamity. The 24 Parganas South police superintendent led the rescue,”  Banerjee said at the special control room in the state secretariat Nabanna.

The passengers have been sheltered in Mousuni Island, near Namkhana. “The passengers and crew have said they don’t need food, but only shelter. They will be there till the situation normalises,” said the chief minister.

Banerjee said that her administration rescued 1,64,315 people from the low lying areas in the coastal districts. Of them, 1,12,365 have been housed in 328 relief camps opened in schools, ICDS, flood and cyclone centres. The government has opened 1,215 kitchens, and deployed 16 disaster response teams, 1,335 civic volunteers, as also 94 boats for relief and rescue operations. Altogether, 2.40 lakh water pouches were supplied to the affected people.

“There has been lot of damage. The cyclone ravage is spread around 200 km. We have to conduct a survey for which we will use a drone. Lots of thatched houses have collapsed, agricultural land damaged,” she said.

The chief minister said there was no report of any human casualty in the coastal districts. Informing that major part of the cyclone has already crossed the state, Banerjee appealed to the people not to venture outdoors till the situation stabilises completely. “Our control room will remain open through the night and also on Sunday. Four principal secretaries will monitor the situation from the control room all night,” she said.