Kolkata, May 20, 2020 (IANS)
Severe cyclonic storm Amphan made a landfall in West Bengal on Wednesday and caused severe damages in Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas districts and their nearby areas, with a wind speed ranging from 155 to 185 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall. Addresing the media, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “We are not getting proper reports as the connections have been completely cut off due to the storm.
But the total losses are likely to amount to thousands of crores. It will take at least 3-4 days to do an initial assessment of the losses. Many bridges and kutcha houses have been completely ravaged.”
Heavy rains and huge gush of wind storms damaged the roofs of several buildings and uprooted a massive number of trees across Kolkata and its adjoining Howrah district.
According to reports available, a girl in Howrah died after a wall collapsed on her at Shalimar locality. In North 24 Parganas districts, a 56-year-old woman in Minakhan and another youth in Basirhat were killed by uprooted trees. In Kolkata, a mother and her son died at the Regent Park area in south Kolkata.
Reports said that Amphan has already destroyed over 5,000 houses in Minakhan, Haroa, Basirhat Hingalgunj and Hasnabad areas of North 24 Parganas district.
Most of the areas in Howrah and North 24 Parganas faced massive power cuts due to heavy rainfall. Roofs of several houses also collapsed as a result of the strong winds during the cyclonic spell. There have been damages inside the state secretariat building Nabanna as well.
Two teams of NDRF have already started road clearance work at Shyampur Block in Howrah district, sources said.
“We will ask the Centre to look at the extent of damages with a humane face. As per our initial estimates, 10-12 people have died. We feel the loss of lives could even surpass that caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Banerjee said.
Two Killed in Odisha
Cyclone Amphan caused havoc in the coastal districts of Odisha as it triggered heavy rainfall, coupled with high-velocity winds while moving towards the West Bengal on Wednesday. Hundreds of trees were uprooted and electric and telecom infrastructure damaged. The government has received reports of two deaths from Bhadrak and Kendrapara districts due to the cyclone.
“We have received reports of a child’s death at Tihidi in the Bhadrak district. The District Collector has sent a team, comprising tehsildar, medical and police officials. The exact cause will be ascertained after autopsy,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena.
A 67-year-old woman died in her house in the Satabhaya area of the Kendrapara district as ambulance didn’t reach her in time. An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of death, said the SRC.
A total of 1,48,486 people have been evacuated from low-laying areas, and thatched and mud houses, and accommodated in 2,921 cyclone shelters. Besides, 1,885 pregnant women were shifted to hospitals for better care in the last two days, said the SRC.
Thirty-six NDRF and ODRAF teams have been deployed in the coastal districts.
“Route clearing and restoration works have begun in the Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada and Bhadrak districts. Mostly trees and electric poles have been uprooted at many places. Damage assessment has also begun,” said the SRC.
Energy Secretary Bishnupada Sethi said they had received reports about damage to electric infrastructure in the cyclone affected areas.
“As a precautionary measure, the department had pre-positioned manpower and electric equipment. Once the impact of the cyclone decreases, we will try to restore electricity supply,” said Sethi.