KOLKATA: Cyclone Amphan has killed 24 people so far India and Bangladesh. While 12 people have been killed in West Bengal, 10 deaths have been reported in neighbouring Bangladesh and two other fatalities in Odisha.
Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 190 kmph, extremely severe cyclone Amphan slammed Digha coast of West Bengal at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, triggering heavy rainfall and gustings in various parts of the state.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its bulletin on Thursday morning said that the super cyclone has weakened to cyclonic storm.
“The super cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ moved north northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during past 6 hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centred today at 5.30 am over Bangladesh near Lat. 24.7°N and Long. 89.5°E about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh),” the weather department said.
In West Bengal, the cyclone barrelled through coastal districts of North and South 24 Paraganas of Bengal, which were the worst-affected, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping low lying towns and villages.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been monitoring the situation at state secretariat Nabanna since Tuesday night, said the impact of Amphan was "worse than coronavirus".
In Kolkata, strong winds with speed up to 125 kmph per hour upturned cars and felled trees and electricity poles blocking important roads and intersections. Streets and homes in low lying areas of Kolkata were swamped with rainwater. Portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down in Kolkata and other parts of the state.
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The cyclone also left some portions of Kolkata airport, including apron or tarmac, water-logged. An old hanger of Air India was collapsed reportedly.
However, despite being flooded partially, relief flight operations to resume at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata’s Dum Dum area from 1 pm on Thursday, said Airport Director, Kaushik Bhattacharjee told a daily.
In Bangladesh, at least a million people are without electricity, according to the Ministry of Power.
Embankments in Sundarban delta - a UNESCO site - were breached as the surge whipped up by the cyclone inundated several kilometers of the Island. TV footage showed gigantic tidal waves crashing into a seawall in Digha and Sunderban region.