KOLKATA: Extremely severe cyclone Amphan made landfall between Digha, West Bengal, and Hatia island in Bangladesh leaving a trail of destruction and claiming two lives. One teenager died in Howrah district and a woman passed away in Minakha, North 24-Parganas district. The extent of damage is yet to be ascertained.
Around 2.30 pm, the cyclone with wind speed of 160 to 170 kmph, gusting to 190kmph, coupled with heavy rain hit East Midnapore’s Digha coast. The landfall process continued for four hours, said an IMD official in Kolkata.
In Kolkata, several trees, light-posts and signal-posts were uprooted. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was at the control room at Nabanna, the state secretariat, to monitor the works of disaster management teams. The IMD office in Kolkata recorded maximum wind speed of 130kmph in the state capital.
Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim said teams of the civic body is monitoring the situation. "Trees, light posts and traffic signal posts uprooted at several places. We have shifted a number of people from old dilapidated buildings to temporary refuge centres. Some of them refused to get relocated. Our rescue teams and personnel of disaster management teams are keeping a close watch on the areas where old buildings exist," he said.
More than two lakh people were evacuated from Sunderbans and other coastal parts of the state. "Reports are reaching us that number of houses collapsed at Kakdwip, Namkhana, Basanti, Gosaba in south 24-Parganas and at Minakha, Haroa and Basirhat in North 24-Parganas district. We are yet to know the number of houses collapsed in the cyclone," said an official of the state government.
In large parts of delta region in South 24 Parganas district, river dams were washed away at four places- Hingalganj in North 24 Parganas, Pathar Pratima and Mousuni Island in South 24 Parganas and Jelingham in East Midnapore-resulting in waterlogging at around 150 villages.
"At least 7000 mud-huts in that region and 5,500 in the pockets in North 24 parganas district were collapsed and washed away during the course of five-hour devastation. The figure will be double in the morning," said an official of the state government.
Seven teams of NDRF and the state government's disaster management group personnel are deployed in East Mjdnapore, South and North 24 Parganas, West Midnapore, Hooghly and Howrah districts. "Relief materials are ready to deliver in affected areas. Our teams are rescuing people ans bringing them to safe shelter camps. The extent of damage is not known yet," said an official of the team monitoring the situation.