Cyclone ‘Yaas’ Took Everything Away: Ground Report From Bengal
The wrath of Cyclone ‘Yaas’ resulted in massive destruction in Digha & Mandarmani, in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur.
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On 26 May 2021, Cyclone ‘Yaas’ caused massive destruction across West Bengal’s coastal belts in Purba Medinipur’s Digha, Mandarmani, and other adjoining places.
My friend, Koushik Das travelled from Dakhineswar to Mandarmani and Digha to cover the horrific situation in those places.
Koushik set out for Digha at 6:00 am on a bike and reached Mandarmani by 9:00 am. He could not believe his eyes on what he saw at Mandarmani Beach – shops, hotels, and houses...all destroyed. People were trying to seek shelter on the upper floors of hotels.
At Mandarmani, the water level started to rise at 8:30 am. People thought it to be a natural rise in water, until the waves started rising as high as 20 feet. Soon, the water came gushing into homes, hotels, shops, and caused large-scale destruction.
Sitesh Ghosh, the manager of Liv Sea Resort in Mandarmani, says, "The distance between the resort and the sea is 100-150 feet (approximately). The water entered all the rooms. It was a horrific sight. One wouldn’t believe what I am saying, if they did not see it with their own eyes. Due to Cyclone ‘Yaas’, our resort suffered a loss of Rs 35 to 40 lakh.”
However, Koushik felt a sense of destruction when he entered Digha. Koushik says, "I saw it with my own eyes! The waves rising to enormous heights and then, there was thunder. For once, I thought I would not be able to return home."
Parsrima Bibi, who buys and sells oysters, lost her home and shop that had goods worth Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000.
She says, “I never imagined that the water level would rise to such a height. I managed to save some basic belongings and clothes of my children.”
When Koushik visited the area where Prasrima Bibi lived, he saw that the place was waterlogged. Bibi and several others had shifted to the nearby hotel for safety.
People were taking shelter in hotels but food supply was a problem. Bibi says, “I am only eating boiled potatoes, rice, and dal. Cooking takes place on the fifth floor of the building.”
And because of such extreme conditions, one cannot expect COVID protocols to be followed. Due to lack of space and shelter, many people had to cramp up together in limited rooms available.
On further travelling, Koushik met with Dr Sandip Dhar, Superintendent of Digha State General Hospital.
He said that Digha was facing electricity supply problems, but the hospital had already arranged for backup. “We arranged for generators and that helped when there was no power supply at the hospital. The generators were in continuous use, and the hospital didn’t face any problem,” added Dr Dhar.
However, the hospital faced several damages due to the cyclone.
“I was at the hospital from the very beginning. Some of the doors and windows of our hospital got destroyed due to the storm. The superintendents’ quarters got heavily damaged too. The doors, windows, and walls of the staff quarters were also damaged.”Dr Sandip Dhar
People opine that the destruction caused by Cyclone ‘Yaas’ will have a long-lasting effect on the tourism industry. The hotels have suffered heavy losses.
Sitesh Ghosh laments, "The water snatched away everything from us."
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Topics: Cyclone ground report Cyclone Yaas
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