Amphan bigger disaster than COVID-19, says Mamata; 12 dead in Bengal

Amphan bigger disaster than COVID-19, says Mamata; 12 dead in Bengal

Cyclone Amphan, which made landfall on Wednesday, has caused the deaths of at least 12 people in West Bengal, media reports indicated on Thursday.

Amphan caused considerable damage in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. Reports indicated numerous buildings and houses were damaged in Kolkata, while electricity supply and mobile connectivity was disrupted since Wednesday evening. ANI reported waterlogging and uprooting of trees in several parts of Kolkata as a result of heavy rain and high-speed winds caused by Amphan. News 18 reported that the NDRF was working to clear the Airport Road in Kolkata. Cargo flight services at the Kolkata Airport were suspended on Wednesday as a precautionary measure.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quoted by News 18 as saying, “Area after area has been ruined. I have experienced a war-like situation today. At least 10-12 people have died. Nandigram, Ramnagar…. the two districts of North and South 24 Parganas are destroyed.” Mamata told mediapersons it would take “three-four” days to conduct damage assessment.

Mamata also appealed to the Centre for assistance. “On one hand, we are fighting with COVID-19; on the other hand, lakhs of migrants are coming back. Over all this, now the cyclone! I think that this (Amphan) is a disaster bigger than COVID-19. I would request (Centre) please forget politics and co-operate with us and save the people,” Mamata was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar tweeted, Amphan has “left behind a trail of destruction. Worst since decades. All need to come forward for massive relief work”.

Around 6.58 lakh people were evacuated from coastal regions of West Bengal and Odisha before Amphan made landfall near Digha on Wednesday afternoon. Around 5 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal. No casualties have been reported from Odisha yet.

Amphan to weaken

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department, in its update issued at 6am on Thursday, predicted that Amphan would weaken into a depression by 11.30am. It would move north-northeastwards and have wind speed of 30-40kmph, gusting to 50kmph.

The IMD has predicted, “light to moderate rainfall at a few places [was] likely over Nadia and Murshidabad districts of Gangetic West Bengal” up to noon on Thursday.

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