Over 9,000 people in two blocks of South 24 Parganas district were evacuated apprehending large-scale flooding during Friday’s high tide, Sunderbans Development Minister Bankim Hazra said. Hazra, however, clarified that the situation was not very severe in Sagar and Mousuni islands as of now, though flooding was reported from some pockets.
“We shifted 4,200 people from Sagar Island and over 5,000 people from Mousuni to shelter camps. They are being given dry food. Some of their residences did bear the brunt of the high tide, but they have all taken their valuables and essential documents with them to the shelter camps. “The administration will take all steps necessary to ensure that the embankments, already weak from cyclone fury, do not give way,” the minister explained.
He further stated that work was underway on war footing to stack up sand-filled sacks and wooden planks along the breached or weakened embankments in the two islands. “As instructed by our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee we will see to it that the embankments are no longer devoured by the sea. Guard walls will be erected to firmly protect the banks,” Hazra said.
With the next high tide expected to occur on June 26, the minister gave assurance that he and other officials would visit the vulnerable areas regularly to monitor the situation, and hold meetings with South 24 Parganas officials to seek updates and give timely instructions. “We will also call for a meeting with officials in Hingalganj, Minakha in North 24 Parganas on June 15 to talk about the preventive steps that have to be taken ahead of the June 26 tide,” he added.
Sundarbans, largely situated in South 24 Parganas, also spreads over a small portion of North 24 Parganas. Thunderstorm along with lightning and moderate rainfall lashed parts of Bengal on Friday.