Extremely severe cyclone 'Amphan' has killed at least 72 persons in West Bengal and ravaged Kolkata and several parts of the state as it left behind a trail of destruction by uprooting trees, destroying thousands of homes and swamping low-lying areas of the state.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday confirmed that at least 72 people have been killed in the state so far due to Cyclone Amphan. She also announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for those killed in the Cyclone.
"So far as per the reports we have received, 72 people have died in the state due to Cyclone Amphan. Two districts – North and South 24 Parganas are completely devastated. We have to rebuild those districts from scratch. I would urge the Central government to extend all help to the state," Banerjee said after conducting a review meeting with officials.
"I have never witnessed such a fierce cyclone and destruction in my life. I would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and visit Cyclone Amphan-affected areas," Banerjee added.
Kolkata and several other parts of West Bengal wore a battered look on Thursday after the extremely severe cyclone 'Amphan' ripped through the state, leaving several dead and blowing up shanties, uprooting thousands of trees besides swamping low-lying areas.
While a man and a woman were killed when trees came crashing down on them in North 24 Parganas district, a 13-year-old girl died in a similar incident in adjoining Howrah, officials said.
Three persons were killed in Hooghly and North 24 Paraganas districts due to electrocution, they said.
A woman and her seven-year-old son were killed in the Regent park area of Kolkata after a tree fell on them, the officials said.
They said a person was killed in Kolkata after being hit by a flying object during the storm.
Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 190 kmph, extremely severe cyclone Amphan slammed Digha coast of West Bengal at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, triggering heavy rainfall and gustings in various parts of the state.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been monitoring the situation at state secretariat Nabanna since Tuesday night, said the impact of Amphan was "worse than coronavirus".
The cyclone barrelled through coastal districts of North and South 24 Paraganas of Bengal, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping low lying towns and villages, officials said.
Strong winds with speed up to 125 kmph per hour upturned cars in Kolkata and felled trees and electricity poles blocking important roads and intersections.
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Reports arriving in Kolkata from North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore said roofs of thatched houses were blown away, electric poles got twisted and hundreds of trees broken and uprooted.
There was a massive power cut in large parts of Kolkata, North 24 Paraganas and South Paraganas. The mobile and internet services were also down as the cyclone had damaged several communication towers.
Streets and homes in low lying areas of Kolkata were swamped with rainwater.
Portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down in Kolkata and other parts of the state.
Embankments in Sundarban delta - a UNESCO site - were breached as the surge whipped up by the cyclone inundated several kilometers of the Island.
TV footage showed gigantic tidal waves crashing into a seawall in Digha and Sunderban region.
Thick sheets of rain blurred the state's coastline as surging waters engulfed mud-and-thatch houses, flattening them in a trice.
Heavy machinery was moved in to clear the roads blocked by falling trees.
More than five lakh people have been evacuated to safety by the state government.
West Bengal: Trees uprooted & waterlogging in several parts of Kolkata in wake of #CycloneAmphan. The cyclone is very likely to weaken into a deep depression during the next 3 hours as per India Meteorological Department (IMD). pic.twitter.com/f81DZw3a0W— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2020
In Odisha, intense rainfall was recorded in several areas of Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Ganjam, Ganjam, Bhadrak and Balasore districts since
The rains and high-velocity winds ebbed away by late Wednesday night but not before causing massive damage to standing crops, plantations and infrastructure.
Tidal surge of up to five metres occured in North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts of West Bengal, inundating vast tracts of land, officials said.
The turbulence will likely extend to Assam and Meghalaya, triggering heavy to very heavy rain on Thursday.
Mohapatra said since the time the depression formed over the Bay of Bengal on May 20 till the cyclone made the landfall, the IMDs predictions about the path it will take and
the timing was accurate and helped the disaster response machinery strategise and execute the plans to minimise the damage effectively.
The cyclonic storm will get weaker while crossing over Nadia and Murshidabad in West Bengal later tonight before entering Bangladesh as a deep depression and dissipating.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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