Today the clean up starts in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan after it reached the coastline Wednesday evening and started heading inland. In parts of Bangladesh and West Bengal (eastern India boarding Bangladesh), at least 83 people have died. It’s affected some 10 million Indian and Bangladeshi people, leaving countless homeless.
With winds around 170 kilometre per hour, most of the deceased were killed by falling trees, electrocuted by downed power poles or trapped within collapsed buildings, leaving a trail of destruction and grief.
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, told local media in a press conference that, “she had never seen such a disaster before and the impact of Amphan cyclone is worse than the coronavirus.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, as the storm barrelled up the Bay of Bengal, emergency crews headed to populated beach areas, trying to convince locals to leave their homes and evacuate to the shelters. Read more HERE
Around 3 million people in India and Bangladesh followed the calls and moved to safety. However, Indian police officers say that some villagers resisted going to shelters as they feared becoming stuck in a closed space with thousands of others at a time the coronavirus.
Yesterday, after the cyclone had weakened as it moved inland towards the northeastern parts of India, with wind speeds of 60 kilometre per hour. Many villagers who had fled to the cyclone shelters began heading back to their villages, only to find their homes completely wrecked.
Among the reported deaths, the authorities revealed that 10 people had died in Bangladesh, and at least 73 in India, 15 in Kolkata alone.
Ms. Banerjee, the West Bengal minister, says that the region was in a “warlike” situation and that the loss of lives could surpass the toll of Covid-19. The authorities there reported that “Bangladesh seemed to do better at getting people into emergency shelters, evacuating a total of 2.4 million people. Whereas in India, officials estimated that only around 660,000 had been evacuated.”
“Even the local news was focused more on coronavirus than the cyclone, when the government finally started evacuating people and people realised the intensity of the storm, it was too late.”
Today Indian PM Narendra Modi left New Delhi to conduct an aerial survey of the worst hit areas of West Bengal and Odisha states.
Through an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh say the cyclone caused damage to infrastructure, homes, fisheries, livestock, water supplies and agriculture to about US$130 million (more than 4 billion baht). The full extent of the damage is not yet full apparent and the death toll is expected to rise.
The PM says that “no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”
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