KOLKATA/BHUBANESWAR: Extremely severe cyclone Amphan made landfall between Digha, West Bengal, and Hatia island in Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon leaving a trail of destruction and claiming at least 12 in West Bengal and one in Odisha.Agencies reported at leat six people died in Bangladesh.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the impact of Amphan as “worse than the coronavirus pandemic” while pegging the damages due to the cyclone in her state at `1 lakh crore.
“Almost everything is destroyed in the coastal villages of the state... It uprooted many trees and inundated many roads in (the capital city) Kolkata,” the CM added.
Four river dams were washed away in the delta regions, triggering waterlogging in around 150 villages.
“At least 7,000 mud-huts in that region and 5,500 in the pockets in North 24 parganas district collapsed or were washed away during the course of five-hour devastation,” said an official adding that the extent of damage could be known in the days to come.
Most of the casualties in Bengal were due to uprooted trees falling on people.After making landfall at 2.30 pm, the cyclone packing winds of up to 190 kmph, coupled with heavy rain, cut through the coastal areas of Bengal and Odisha, flattening dwellings, uprooting trees and electric poles.TV visuals showed gigantic tidal waves at Digha, close to the landfall site.
Tidal surge of up to five metres are expected in North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts that could submerge areas in a radius of 15 km. The severity of the cyclone was such that the houses appeared to “have been run over by a bulldozer”, Babul Mondal, 35, a villager in Sunderbans told AFP.
According to IMD, the landfall process continued for four around hours.In Kolkata, several trees, electric poles and signal-posts were uprooted.
The IMD office in Kolkata recorded wind speeds of 130 kmph in the city.Talking to reporters in Delhi, India Meteorological Department director-general Mrityunjay Mohapatra said the eye of the cyclone measuring 30 km in diameter had touched the land, triggering copious rain in several districts in West Bengal and Odisha.
In Odisha, the cyclone lashed Balasore, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur districts. A three-month old boy died when the wall of his thatched house collapsed due in Bhadrak district.According to NDRF, around five lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and 1.58 lakh in Odisha.