Report By Nandika Chand | Kashmir Srinagar | Last Updated at May 22 2020
After an aerial survey of Cyclone Amphan-hit West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra announced an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore. Over six crore people in the state has been affected directly by Amphan.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said its a catastrophe, a severe disaster. “Our officials and ministers are all working. Police are also working tirelessly.” Banerjee said the West Bengal is fighting three challenges – lockdown, COVID-19 and the natural disaster.
The cyclone devastated the COVID-19 riddled state and claimed 72 lives. Three districts – South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore were very badly hit. Kolkata, one of India’s biggest cities, was also ravaged with flooded roads. The city was without power for over 14 hours.
Amphan caused extensive damage in West Bengal and Bangladesh with winds up to 185km/hr and up to 15 feet high waves. Reports described it as the first ‘super cyclone’ to form in the Bay of Bengal since the 1999.
Tens of thousands of homes in Bangladesh were destroyed and 12 people left dead by the cyclone. Bangladeshi reports highlighted that many villages had been submerged by storm surges in low-lying costal areas. The swampy islands, Sunderbans, home to over four million of the world’s poorest people are also affected. Officials said its too early to estimate damage and casualties in the area.
Meanwhile, the Indian Meterological Department (IMD) said the cyclone has reduced to a well-marked low pressure area over North Bangladesh and the neighbouring area. “It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a low pressure area during the next 12 hours,” it said.