Cyclone Amphan: 72 Dead in WB; Trees Uprooted, Buildings Damaged

Residents of Kolkata woke up to sights of waterlogged streets, uprooted trees and damaged infrastructure.

2 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

At least 72 people have died after Cyclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal on Wednesday, 20 May, leaving behind a trail of destruction in Kolkata, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas districts.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the situation as "never seen before" and said, "Will ask PM to visit the state to see the situation."

She also announced a compensation of Rs 2.5 Lakh for the families of those who lost their life.

This morning, residents of Kolkata woke up to sights of waterlogged streets, uprooted trees and damaged infrastructure in the wake of the cyclone, which brought with it high-speed winds and heavy rainfall.

According to reports cited by newsy agency IANS, a girl in Howrah died after a wall collapsed on her at Shalimar locality. In North 24 Parganas district, a 56-year-old woman in Minakhan and another youth in Basirhat were killed by trees that got uprooted. And in Kolkata, a woman and her son died at the Regent Park area.

More than 5,000 houses are said to be damaged in North 24 Parganas alone. The state secretariat building Nabanna, in Howrah, has reportedly been damaged too. NDRF and state officials are assessing the situation.

‘Loss of Lives Could Surpass Those Caused by COVID-19’

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expected the losses to be worth thousands of crores.

“It will take at least three to four days to do an initial assessment of the losses... We will ask the Centre to look at the extent of damages with a humane face... We feel the loss of lives could even surpass those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mamata Banerjee, as quoted by IANS

In adjoining Odisha, too, a heavy storm led to damage in the coastal districts, with at least three dead and the state government asking district collectors to submit damage assessment reports within 48 hours, reports said.

"We have some devastation as a large number of trees have been uprooted. Electricity infrastructure has received damage, while there was minor damage to telecom infrastructure. Besides, there is damage to some houses with asbestos roofs," Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena was quoted by IANS as saying.

The cyclone had crossed the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast on Thursday with a wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph, the India Metereological Department said. It came amid the coronavirus pandemic, with authorities calling the evacuation process a "double challenge".

In anticipation of the destruction, over five lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and more than 1.5 lakh in Odisha.

Early on Thursday, the India Meteorological Department said, "Severe cyclonic storm Amphan over Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal coast moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 30 kmph during the past six hours. (It's) very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours."

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