UPDATE – Cyclone kills at least 88 in India, Bangladesh

A powerful super cyclone has killed at least 88 people across eastern India and Bangladesh besides damaging thousands of houses, forestry, and bringing down power lines.

The eastern Indian state of West Bengal took the brunt of Cyclone Amphan, which barreled into the Odisha coast with ferocious wind and rain Wednesday evening.

It left behind a trail of destruction in Kolkata, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas districts.

 

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the death stood at 72.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal, and “no stone will be left unturned” to help those affected by the cyclone.

“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,” he tweeted on Thursday.

Authorities in the two Indian states, which were already struggling to mount relief efforts amid the coronavirus outbreak, have evacuated around 650,000 people.

Earlier, Banerjee asked PM Modi to look into the situation on “humanitarian grounds.”

“We never expected this level of disaster. Agriculture sector is badly affected with damage of crops,” she told a news conference late Wednesday, adding that the power and water supply system has completely collapsed. “Let us hope that we can overcome this disaster with support and blessings of all.”

She added: “There is almost nothing left in areas including Ganga Sagar, Sunderbans, Minakha, Basirhat, Bongaon, Habra and Bhangar.”

West Bengal has reported over 3,000 cases of COVID-19 including 250 deaths, as the total number of infections across India surpassed 112,400 with around 3,440 deaths so far.

 

– Situation in Bangladesh

The cyclone also damaged the coastal areas of neighboring Bangladesh, killing at least 16 people, and resulting in power supply being cut off in some districts.

“Till now we have recorded 16 deaths in nine coastal districts while at least six others have been wounded,” Dr. Ayesha Akhter, assistant director at the health directorate, told Anadolu Agency.

She, however, added that the figures could be updated as more information came in.

Several villages in the southwestern district of Bagerhat have been inundated as a portion of coastal dam surrounding the district was damaged.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is monitoring the situation from her official residence in the capital Dhaka, and has assured of government support.

The country has so far reported 28,511 virus cases, including 408 deaths.

– Rohingya safe

Rohingya camps in Bangladesh’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar, which hosts more than 1.2 million refugees, has fortunately not been affected by the cyclone.

“Cyclone Amphan did not attack Cox’s Bazar as predicted, and Rohingya camps are a little inside from the offshore,” Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner Md Mahbub Alam Talukder told Anadolu Agency.

Cyclones frequently strike parts of eastern India and Bangladesh, often leading to forced evacuations and widespread damage.

 

Source: Anadolu Agency