Could Cyclone Yaas Disrupt Supply of Medical Oxygen in India?

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Cyclone Yaas has started forming over the Bay of Bengal and could intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm. The cyclone is likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar Island on May 26. With the storm approaching, authorities face a challenge to ensure there is no damage and disruption in plants that are supplying medical oxygen for the treatment of Covid-19.

Oxygen generation plants in Odisha and West Bengal are currently supplying medical oxygen to various parts of the country. It is crucial that this supply is not affected amid the current Covid-19 crisis. As a precautionary measure, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has directed its rescue teams to ensure that the plants remain operational during the cyclone.

“Both Odisha and West Bengal are major supplier from the eastern grid to the south, northern and central grid when it comes to medical oxygen. For example, all the oxygen from Angul goes by train and roads towards central, south and parts of north India. Likewise, oxygen produced from Kolkata and Haldia goes towards the north, east and north-eastern parts of the country,” said SN Pradhan, Director General NDRF.

Pradhan added that out of the 99 teams designated for cyclone Yaas, 52 will be assigned to Odisha as the state expects the impact to be severe. The task of evacuation and restoration could be even more challenging due to Covid-19.

Notably, Yaas will be the third cyclone that Odisha faces in the last three years. Amphan (2020) and Fani (2019) caused widespread damage in the coastal districts.

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