'I have never seen such a disaster before', this was the response from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as her state has devastated by Cyclone Amphan, which has caused major havoc in the state amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Amphan has made landfall into the state around 2.30 pm on Wednesday and since it approached its last phase, it has destructed major parts of the state including the capital Kolkata as most of the areas have been inundated due to the heavy rainfall in the sequel of the cyclone. The wind has blown at a speed of 120 km per hour leaving the state to witness major devastation.
West Bengal Chief Minister has, on Thursday, said that the cyclone has killed 72 people in the state of which 17 were from Kolkata and they have died due to electrocution, tree, and house collapses. According to the reports, the storm is getting weakened as it has been moving towards the north and it would approach Bhutan. The cyclone has toppled daily lives in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee has announced the state would provide Rs 2 lakh as compensation for the families of the victims.
Most of the roads in Kolkata have been flooded and the city's 14 million residents have been left out with no electricity. The Chief Minister described the cyclone as a bigger disaster than COVID-19. The runways and hangars at the Kolkata Airport went submerged and one of the airplanes that parked in the airport has been half-filled with water.
The operations of the airport have been temporarily halted and the state has reportedly faced risk in mass evacuations as these drives would provide no ground for the social-distancing measures. The areas in the trajectory of the cyclone have faced severe devastation and disruption of communication and essential services. According to the Chief Minister, over 5 lakh people have been evacuated and she stated that the cyclone could have caused damage worth Rs 1 lakh crore.
Before approaching the Indian territory, the cyclone had caused more damages to Bangladesh where at least ten people have died. Mamata Banerjee urged the Center to forget the politics and co-operate with the state government to save the people. According to the reports, the North-eastern states would record heavy to very heavy rainfall. Amphan, which has formed as the super cyclone, has been moving into north and northeast with a speed of 27 kilometers per hour in the past six hours on Thursday.
Three districts of West Bengal - East Midnapore, South, and North 24 Parganas have been largely devasted amid the global pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. By citing that the efforts have been carried out to ensure normalcy, he stated that he has been praying for the well-being of the people of the state.
Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 21, 2020
He further divulged that the Center will leave no stone unturned in the efforts to rescue the people. The reports stated that the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) has deployed four additional teams to West Bengal to grip up the relief measures. NDRF Director Pradhan said that two teams each from Chennai and Pune will be dispatched to West Bengal as it gears up from the unprecedented devastation.
Pradhan highlighted that West Bengal has faced more damage and Odisha has been under control and Odisha will get back to normalcy in 24 to 48 hours. The reports revealed that the storm is the first super cyclone that has been formed in the Bay of Bengal after 1999 and Odisha has lost 10,000 people when the preceding super cyclone hit the state in 1999.