- At least 72 people were killed in West Bengal, India, while ten people were killed in Bangladesh.
- Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal chief minister, said that the devastation caused by the cyclone was a bigger disaster than the coronavirus pandemic.
- Authorities struggled to find shelters for evacuees, opting to turn schools and other buildings to temporary shelters.
Cyclone Amphan ripped through the coastal towns of India and Bangladesh, leaving more than 80 people dead. Officials said that two people died in Odisha, in the Bay of Bengal, according to the state government. That’s including an infant, who was crushed as the mud wall of their house collapsed.
At least 72 people were killed in West Bengal, India, while ten people were killed in Bangladesh, including a five year old boy who was hit by a falling tree. Authorities have revealed that most of the deaths were caused by the collapsing of walls, falling of trees and drowning. The cyclone made landfall Wednesday evening, packing sustained winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour, with maximum gusts of 190 kilometers per hour.
Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal chief minister, said that the devastation caused by the cyclone was a bigger disaster than the coronavirus pandemic. Banerjee added that the state was facing a number of crises— the corona virus pandemic, thousands of migrant workers returning home, and Cyclone Amphan.
The regions of South Bengal were greatly affected by the cyclone. The storm pushed the seawater, flooding cities, including Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal State. Streets in Kolkata were waterlogged, houses were damaged, and trees were uprooted due to the heavy rains and strong winds.
“We have never seen or heard anything like it. Windows rattled, the house shook, outside trees caught fire while others collapsed. We thought we would die,” said a taxi driver in Kolkata. “Even with all doors and windows tightly shut, my house groaned under the pressure of the howling wind outside. Within forty five minutes, the streets got flooded, even as floods waters rushed into the ground floor of homes,” said another resident.
Rescue operations have already began as teams from National Disaster Response Force started road clearance work. As the cyclone weakens, heavy rains are likely to continue in parts of Bagladesh until Friday morning.
Dozens of people living along the coastal areas in both India and Bangladesh had already been evacuated prior to the storm, although some of them were reluctant for fear of contracting the coronavirus in the shelters.
Authorities struggled to find shelters for evacuees, opting to turn schools and other buildings to temporary shelters, so as to observe the social distance measure and curb the spread of the virus at the crucial time. Most of the shelters have been used as quarantine centers.
Amphan is the strongest tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal since the 2007 Cyclone Sidr, which killed more than 3,000 people. Authorities have warned that Cyclone Amphan could be worse than Cyclone Sidr. Another super cyclone hit Odisha and killed more than 9,000 people in 1999.
The cyclone comes at times when tens of thousands of migrants are returning home from big cities due to the national lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus that has rendered them jobless. Most of the migrant workers have in recent days returned to West Bengal and Odisha, the areas that have been greatly affected by the cyclone.