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Cyclone Amphan kills 12 in Bengal; Kolkata Airport to restart services on Thursday afternoon

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee convened a meeting of the state task force on Thursday afternoon to assess the damage and measures to be taken for the people in the affected zones.

Published: 21st May 2020 12:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st May 2020 12:05 PM   |  A+A-

According to sources, some portion, including apron or tarmac, are water-logged. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

By Express News Service

KOLKATA: Wreaking havoc in the coastal belt and its adjoining areas, cyclone Amphan, one of the worst storm in recent years that had hit Bengal on Wednesday, claimed at least 12 lives, apart from demolishing thousands of houses in East Midnapore, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas district and sweeping away crops on thousand acres of agricultural land. 

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee convened a meeting of the state task force on Thursday afternoon to assess the damage and measures to be taken for the people in the affected zones.

Banerjee said that the disaster was bigger than COVID-19 pandemic in Bengal. 

"Had we not evacuated five lakh people, don’t know what would have happened. We are yet to know the extent of damage, It can be Rs 1 lakh crore. We need cooperation from all. We will ask the centre to help the state government financially keeping aside all political issues at this hour of crisis," she said.

The extremely severe cyclone hit Bengal with a wind speed of 150 kmph, gusting to 190kmph. 

In the coastal areas, roofs of thatched houses were blown away, thousands of trees were uprooted and electric poles got twisted. In low-lying areas of Kolkata, streets and homes were swamped with rainwater. 

Cellphone services were snapped at several pockets of the state capital. River dams were swept away at many places in South 24-Parganas after water level surged up to 15 feet, resulting in the flooding of villages and firm lands. In Ramnagar and Khejuri blocks of East Midnapore, around 75,000 people became homeless.

"We need to ensure dry food and living accommodation for the people in badly affected areas. A large of coastal area has become inaccessible because roads are blocked tree trunks. Personnel of disaster management group and NDRF are removing the obstructions," said an official of the state government.

Relief flight services to resume at Kolkata Airport

Despite being flooded partially, relief flight operations to resume at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata’s DumDum area from 1 pm on Thursday. 

Two relief flights for Thai and Russian citizens will be operated during the afternoon. 

“There will be one Air Asia flight for Thai citizens. Already passengers started arriving at the terminal. In the late afternoon, another flight will depart for Russian citizens,” said Airport Director, Kaushik Bhattacharjee.

The ravaging cyclone left some portions of the airport flooded. 

According to sources, some portion, including apron or tarmac, are water-logged. 

An apron is an area where aircraft are loaded or unloaded, refuelled and parked—usually not open to passengers. 

An old hanger of Air India was collapsed reportedly. However, the damages would have little impact on the resumption of operations. 

“This (the waterlogging) will not affect the flight operations. We have 50 parking bays. Flights of Indigo and Spice Jet are parked there. But, it is difficult to pump out the water from the flooded portion due to the difference in water level from outside the airport premises,” said the director.

According to sources, some parked aircrafts moved by a few inches despite chocks being placed before the wheels as the gale winds tore through this part of the City (DumDum) at a speed of 133kmph. 

Howling winds, triggered by Cyclone Amphan, hit the Bengal coast on Wednesday. 

The ‘very severe cyclone’ made landfall over Sagar Island, claiming at least 12 lives in the eastern State. 

The eye of the storm is believed to have crossed Kolkata, which faced nature’s wrath till midnight, between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm. 

The City woke up to uprooted trees, bent electricity poles, broken structures, flooded streets and tangled wires, on Thursday. As per historians, Kolkata had faced similar cyclone on October 11 in 1737, making landfall inside Ganges River Delta.



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