Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

Recovery begins after storm ravages India and Bangladesh

Cyclone Amphan is the most powerful storm to hit the region in over a decade

A commuter wears a protective face mask as she passes an uprooted tree after Cyclone Amphan hit Bengal; in Kolkata, India, 22 May 2020. EPA
A commuter wears a protective face mask as she passes an uprooted tree after Cyclone Amphan hit Bengal; in Kolkata, India, 22 May 2020. EPA

Indian authorities on Friday began assessing damage and clearing roads in the wake of Cyclone Amphan, which killed more than 90 people and left millions displaced after barrelling through the coastal communities of eastern India and neighbouring Bangladesh.

In West Bengal state, which bore the brunt of the storm that caused extensive flooding in its capital Kolkata, police and teams from India’s national disaster response force removed fallen trees and other debris, repaired communication lines and started getting hundreds of thousands of people out of shelters.

Amphan hit land on Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, dumping heavy rain amid a battering storm surge.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the cyclone must be treated as a national disaster. She also pitched for monetary assistance from the federal government after receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Kolkata airport.

The two later conducted an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas of the state. It was Mr Modi’s first trip outside the national capital after a coronavirus lockdown was imposed in late March.

The Prime Minister promised on Thursday that “no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”

In an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh said the cyclone caused about $130 million in damage to infrastructure, housing, fisheries, livestock, water resources and agriculture. The full extent of the damage along India’s eastern coast was not immediately known.

Authorities in both countries managed to evacuate more than 3 million people before Amphan struck.

At least 80 people were killed in West Bengal state, and two more deaths were reported in neighbouring Odisha state. Bangladesh reported 13 deaths.

Updated: May 22, 2020 01:21 PM

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