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Cyclone Amphan: Massive Destruction in India, Bangladesh


India and Bangladesh saw massive devastation on Wednesday after they were hit by super cyclone Amphan killing at least 95 people and leaving behind tonnes of wreckage. It smashes homes, uprooted thousands of trees, damaged electric poles, and ruined a lot of farms. The storm has also provoked the spread of coronavirus.


Situation In India:

The cyclone hit 7 districts of est Bengal, namely South 24 Paraganas, North 24 Paraganas, East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata, with damages also reported in the district of Birbhum. The effect has been severe in districts of north and south 24 Paragana. The area is also facing water scarcity. Damages have been done to crops, plants, power, and telecommunication services.

West Bengal reported 72 deaths, including 15 in the capital city Kolkata. 2 deaths were reported in the state of Odisha. One of the victims is an infant who was crushed under a fallen mud wall. The CM of West Bengal, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, said that she has never witnessed this much devastation. She warned that this will increase the severity of the coronavirus. Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi tweeted earlier that "no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected". 650,000 people were evacuated.

Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Shri Narendra Modi and Mr. Moin Uddin

The capital city was flooded, many vehicles submerged and trees uprooted, causing severe damage to electric poles and other parked vehicles.

"Each second seemed like an hour. Several roads were blocked, shops damaged, and streets waterlogged.

Meanwhile, the power supply was cut off in vulnerable districts of West Bengal and its Chief Minister has estimated $13.2 billion in losses for the state.



Response

The National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Fund, Kolkata police, fire services, and West Bengal state police are working to ease the situation. State and district level Interagency Group Coordination mechanism has been activated.

UNICEF is monitoring the situation with the help of state departments. Concerns were expressed over the COVID-19 situation.

The storm began its landfall at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, with sustained wind speeds of 155-165 kmph spiraling up to 185 kmph.


Situation In Bangladesh:

The UN office in Bangladesh estimated that 10 million people were affected, 500K people lost their homes, and 23 deaths. A 5-year-old boy and a 75-year-old man died in Bangladesh. They were hit by falling trees. A cyclone emergency volunteer was also drowned. The improved weather forecasting technologies helped save many lives and helped in the rescue missions. Bangladesh was able to move 2.4 million people into the shelters. The worst-hit state's districts of Bangladesh saw power-cut the day, which accounts for 10 million people, the information provided by Rural Electricity Board Chief, Moin Uddin.

The storm also caused massive destruction in the Sundarban forest, and the impact of wildlife is not yet known.

The most affected area in Bangladesh is the Satkhira district of Southwest Bangladesh. Many homes were submerged in water.

"My home has gone underwater. My shrimp farm is gone. I don't know how I am going to survive," said a survivor. The Bangladesh government has evacuated nearly 2 million people and more than 12000 shelters are set up, supplied with masks, sanitizers ad other products to prevent the spread of the virus.


Cyclone During a Pandemic

The cyclone faded as it progressed North through Bangladesh but heavy rainfall was caused in Cox's Bazaar, the district which is houses 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. 60 shelters were destroyed out of the 300 which were affected. There were numerous reports of floods and landslides. Damages were caused in refugee camps as well. The drainage systems were blocked, staircases were flooded. But there were no casualties. The effect was less than expected. Crowding people in the shelter home will put them at risk of the coronavirus, and the spread is still happening in India and Bangladesh.


Mud embankments in the Sundarban delta which are UNESCO sites were hit badly when the cyclone arrived. Seawater entered agricultural land, officials now fear more 2 lakh farmers could be severely affected. The community of the region is dependent on rice for their food. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sundarbans is a biosphere reserve area known for its famous Bengal Royal Tigers.


Source: UN HT Reuters News18 PhysOrg

Image Courtesy: LiveMint HT NDTV HTAuto The Hindu DeccanHerald

Compiled by Subhasri Banerjee

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