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'It seems there was a war': Cyclone Amphan overwhelms Bengal
By Pradipta Tapadar
May 21, 2020 21:44 IST

Amphan was the fiercest Cyclone to hit West Bengal in the last 100 years.
A large part of the state was without power as electricity poles have been blown away.
Mobile and internet services were also down as the cyclone has damaged hundreds of communication towers.




IMAGE: Mangled remains of a taxi after a tree fell on it during Cyclone Amphan, at Dharamtala in Kolkata. Photograph: @satyaprad1/Twitter via PTI Photo


"Never in my life have I seen a cyclone like this in Bengal," said 95-year-old Ashok Roy, a retired school teacher, visibly shaken by the ferocity of the extremely severe cyclone 'Amphan' that left a trail of destruction in half a dozen districts, including Kolkata.
Buses and taxis crashed against each other, small fishing boats turned turtle and grounded planes shook at the inundated Kolkata airport as winds of up to 190 kmph rampaged through West Bengal, already reeling under the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown caused by it.
On Thursday morning, 45-year-old Jamal Mondal along with his four daughters and wife was jostling outside a relief camp in South 24 Parganas district's Gosaba for two loaves of bread and a tarpaulin sheet to spend the nights at a cyclone shelter.
The migrant worker had returned home from Bengaluru on Monday. But that relief was short-lived. His one-storey mud house was washed away by 'Amphan' on Wednesday night.


"On Monday, when I reached home, I thought my sufferings were over. But I was wrong. The lockdown took away my job and the cyclone took away everything that was left.
"I do not know what would I do next, where would I stay and how would I feed my family," Mondal told a TV news channel.
Half a dozen districts, including large parts of Kolkata, wore a battered look as lakhs of people were homeless and low-lying areas swamped by the cyclone that slammed the Digha coast of West Bengal at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, triggering heavy rainfall in various parts of the state.
Amphan was the fiercest Cyclone to hit West Bengal in the last 100 years.
A large part of the state was without power as electricity poles have been blown away.
Mobile and internet services were also down as the cyclone has damaged hundreds of communication towers.
According to officials, more than 1,500 mobile towers across the state have been destroyed.
In Kolkata, thousands of trees were uprooted, lamp posts unhinged, power supply snapped, and pieces of shattered glass panes littered all over the streets.
Streets and homes in low-lying areas were swamped with rainwater while portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down.
"It is not the city where I have grown up... it seems to be a destroyed one. It seems there was a war yesterday... I cannot believe that this is my Kolkata," said Sudhir Chakraborty, a resident of south Kolkata's Rashbehari area.
Cargo and evacuation flights services resumed at the Kolkata International airport since morning even as a portion of the aircraft hanger was waterlogged. Authorities have been trying hard to pump out the water.


IMAGE: Municipal workers clear a blocked road after a tree uprooted, in the aftermath of super cyclone Amphan, in Kolkata, on Thursday. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI Photo


Strong winds with speed up to 125 kmph per hour upturned cars in Kolkata and felled trees and electricity poles blocking important roads and intersections.
At Kolkata's Central Avenue, a small concrete temple situated at the base of a banyan tree was uprooted.
More than 4,000 trees, a few hundred electricity poles, traffic signals and police kiosks have been uprooted, a Kolkata Municipal Corporation official.
"The entire city has been devastated. Around 4,000 trees have uprooted in Kolkata. We are short of staff due to the lockdown. It will take some time to restore normalcy," Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim said.
More than 14 lakh people in Kolkata are living without electricity since Wednesday night.
Reports from North and South 24 Parganas, and East Midnapore stated that roofs of numerous thatched houses have been blown away.
Embankments in the Sundarban delta -- a UNESCO world heritage site -- were breached as the surge whipped up by the cyclone inundated several kilometres of the islands.
The ecologically fragile Sunderban region, nestled around the world's largest mangrove forest, is home to the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.
Four jetties in South 24 Parganas collapsed in the Wednesday night's storm.
According to the agricultural department, paddy crop in Burdwan, West Midnapore and Hooghly has been destroyed.
Senior officials said it was too early to estimate the death toll or damage to property as the hardest-hit areas were still not accessible.
"It will take a day or two to assess the complete situation," an official said.
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'.
"There has been massive destruction in the state due to this cyclone. We would give Rs 2-2.5 lakh compensation to the family members of the deceased. We want the Central government to extend financial help to us to tide over the crisis," she said.

"West Bengal is facing an unprecedented crisis. The state's economy was already reeling under pressure from the coronavirus-induced lockdown, and now the devastation by this cyclone has worsened the matter," Banerjee said.
Teams of National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force have been working on a war footing and deployed heavy machinery to clear the roads blocked by uprooted trees.
More than five lakh people have been evacuated to safety by the state government.



'It seems there was a war': Cyclone Amphan overwhelms Bengal
 

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Super Cyclone Amphan affected 44.8 lakh in Odisha, damaged power infra
Source: PTI - Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
May 21, 2020 20:04 IST

Nearly 45 lakh people in Odisha have been affected by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan, which fiercely rolled past the state coast and made a landfall in the Sunderbans, uprooting trees and flattening fragile dwellings, a senior official said on Thursday.



IMAGE: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik during an aerial survey of the areas hit by Cyclone Amphan, on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo


The power infrastructure and the farm sector have also suffered a considerable damage, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said.
However officials said the telecom infrastructure is largely intact.
The cyclonic storm, which triggered heavy rains and accompanied high-velocity winds gusting up to 190 kmph in coastal areas, made a landfall in the Sunderbans in West Bengal on Wednesday evening.


It has weakened significantly since making the landfall and moved to Bangladesh as a cyclonic storm.]
On Thursday, Chief Secretary Tripathy attended a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and informed him about the damage caused by Amphan (Sky).
He said the cyclone has affected over 44.80 lakh people in 1,500 gram panchayats, despite the Odisha government evacuating around 2 lakh people from vulnerable areas ahead of the landfall.
Tripathy said the restoration work is in underway on a war-footing, particularly in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore, and road connectivity is likely to be restored shortly.
But it will take a day or two to fully restore the power supply, he said.
Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi said about 1 lakh hectares of standing crops have been damaged.
District collectors have been asked to send submit initial damage assessment reports in two days and send detailed reports about the extent of damage to agriculture and horticulture after that, he said.
Though the cyclone did not directly hit Odisha, it uprooted a large number of trees, electric poles and flattened thatched and mud houses as it hurtled towards West Bengal.

Another senior official said electricity supply to 34 lakh consumers, including 1.63 lakh of power distribution company SOUTHCO, 15 lakh of NESCO and 17 lakh of CESU, has been hit. However, electricity was restored in SOUTHCO areas and in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena said disaster response teams and fire department personnel were working to restore road communication on a war footing.
Jena said about 90 per cent of telecom towers/infrastructure are intact.


Super Cyclone Amphan affected 44.8 lakh in Odisha, damaged power infra
 

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PM to undertake aerial survey of cyclone-hit areas
Source: PTI - Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
May 21, 2020 22:59 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday travel to West Bengal and Odisha to take stock of the situation in the wake of cyclone Amphan wreaking havoc in the two states, the Prime Minister's Office said.
https://www.rediff.com/news/report/it-seems-there-was-a-war-amphan-overwhelms-bengal/20200521.htm


IMAGE: Residents inspect their damaged house after a tree fell on it during Cyclone Amphan, in Burdwan district, on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo

'He will conduct aerial surveys and take part in review meetings, where aspects of relief and rehabilitation will be discussed,' the PMO said in a tweet on Thursday night.
Cyclone Amphan has left 72 people dead and thousands homeless in West Bengal, battering several parts of the state and washing away bridges and swamping low-lying areas.

It also wreaked havoc in Odisha damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts.
The extremely severe cyclonic storm has weakened and moved to Bangladesh, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
This will be the prime minister's first visit outside the national capital after coronavirus lockdown was imposed on the midnight of March 24.
Sources in the government said the prime minister would first reach West Bengal in the morning and then go to Odisha in the afternoon.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Modi said no stone will be left unturned in helping those affected by cyclone Amphan.
'Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan,' the prime minister tweeted.
In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal, he said.
'Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy,' he said.
National Disaster Response Force teams are working in the cyclone-affected parts, he pointed out.
'Top officials are closely monitoring the situation and also working in close coordination with the West Bengal government. No stone will be left unturned in helping the affected,' he said.

The prime minister said his thoughts are also with the people of Odisha as the state bravely battles the effects of the cyclone.
The authorities, Modi said, are working on the ground to ensure all possible assistance to the those affected.
'I pray that the situation normalises at the earliest,' he said.


PM to undertake aerial survey of cyclone-hit areas
 

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Jobs lost due to lockdown, homes ravaged by cyclone: Migrants' plight
Source: PTI
May 21, 2020 15:55 IST

Jamal Mondal, 45, a migrant labourer who returned from Bengaluru to his hometown Gosaba in South 24 Parganas district on Monday, was happy to be reunited with his family, even though he had lost his
job due to the nationwide lockdown.

But his happiness was short-lived.



IMAGE: People stand in the corner of the wall as they surrounded by water after heavy rain amid cyclone Amphan, in Kolkata. Photograph: ANI Photo

On Thursday morning, along with his four daughters and wife, Mondal was jostling outside a relief camp in the district for two loafs of bread and a tarpaulin sheet to spend the nights at a cyclone shelter, as his one-storey mud house was washed away by extremely severe cyclonic storm "Amphan" on Wednesday night.
"On Monday, when I reached home, I thought my sufferings were over. But I was wrong. The lockdown took away my job and the cyclone took away everything I was left with. I do not know what would I do next, where would I stay and how would I feed my family," Mondal told a television news channel.

The story is the same for hundreds of migrant labourers in South 24 Parganas who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown and are left with nothing due to the monstrous cyclone now.
"Amphan" has killed at least 12 persons in West Bengal and ravaged Kolkata and several parts of the state. It has left behind a trail of unprecedented destruction by uprooting trees, destroying thousands of homes and swamping the low-lying areas of the state.
According to Jamir Ali, 35, it was after the devastating Cyclone Aila in 2009 that he had decided to go to other states in search of work to feed his family of seven.
"After Aila, I had decided to go to Bengaluru in search of work. I worked there as a mason for 10 years, but due to the lockdown, lost my job and after an arduous journey of 15 days by foot, truck and bus, managed to reach home on Tuesday. I was hopeful that everything would be fine, but the worse was waiting to happen," he said.
Ali's house has been destroyed and since Wednesday night, there is no trace of his younger brother, who had gone out to tie down their boat near the embankment.
"My brother left the house at around 5 pm, saying he would be back within half-an-hour after tying down our fishing dinghy to one of the pillars on the embankment. The embankment is completely destroyed and there is no trace of him," Ali said.
Embankments in the Sundarban delta -- a UNESCO world heritage site -- were breached as the surge whipped up by the cyclone inundated several kilometres of the islands.
The ecologically fragile Sunderban region, nestled around the world's largest mangrove forest, is home to the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.
For the residents of the area, the fight for survival with nature and wildlife is a routine affair.

The region also sends a large number of labourers to work in various parts of the country.
"Earlier, most of us used to work here. But after the 2009 cyclone, we lost much of our habitat due to the rising sea levels and had to move to other states. But this cyclone took away our homes. All of us have to start from scratch as we are not left with even a single penny," said Joydeb Mondal while standing in a queue for food outside a relief camp.
"After this cyclone, more people would move out of the Sunderban region in search of jobs," a district official said.

Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 190 kmph, "Amphan" slammed the Digha coast of West Bengal at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, triggering heavy rainfall in various parts of the state.
The cyclone barrelled through the districts of North and South 24 Parganas, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping the low-lying towns and villages.


Jobs lost due to lockdown, homes ravaged by cyclone: Migrants' plight
 
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SEE: Kolkata airport flooded due to cyclone Amphan

Last updated on: May 21, 2020 13:03 IST

A part of the Kolkata airport was flooded as cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc across West Bengal on Wednesday, damaging infrastructure and uprooting trees in the state capital.




Visuals from the Kolkata airport showed a flooded tarmac, runways and a collapsed Air India hanger.



Cargo and evacuation flight operations at the Kolkata airport were suspended on Wednesday till 5 am of Thursday.

The extremely severe cyclone 'Amphan' has killed at least 12 persons.
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.





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".







The cyclone barrelled through coastal districts of North and South 24 Paraganas of Bengal, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping low lying towns and villages, officials said.






SEE: Kolkata airport flooded due to cyclone Amphan
 
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yclone Amphan: 6 hours of fury that devastated parts of Kolkata
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•May 21, 2020


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Cyclone Amphan made landfall in the coastal region of Odisha and West Bengal on May 20. The speed recorded was nearly 155-165 kmph around 2.30 pm. Amphan also entered Kolkata uprooting hundreds of trees. Buildings and lamp posts were damaged by the intensity of Amphan. A hangar at Kolkata airport was damaged. Parts of the airport were submerged under water. Kolkata looked greyer than usual on May 21. The roads resembled a battlefield strewn with uprooted trees. Civic authorities and NDRF teams worked overtime to clear the roads. Amphan’s 6 hours of monstrous fury left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverised.
 
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Cyclone Amphan: Living on the 41st Floor During a Super Cyclone in Kolkata | The Quint
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•May 20, 2020


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#Amphan #Cyclone #WestBengal Amphan, the second super cyclone to form over the Bay of Bengal since 1999 and "a double challenge" due to COVID-19, made landfall in West Bengal at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, 20 May, and continued to cause destruction in the form of high-velocity winds and heavy rains till about early in the morning on 21 May. The Quint's reporter from Bengal gives a first-hand account of the ferocious storm from her 41st-floor residence in Kolkata.
 

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Cyclone Amphan Leaves Trail of Destruction in Bengal, Lives Lost, Losses Worth Thousands of Crores
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•May 21, 2020


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Lives lost, several injured, houses smashed, trees and polls twisted and uprooted. Cyclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal on 20 May, leaving a trail of destruction and resulting in losses worth thousands of crores.
 

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Cyclone Amphan Kills 72 In Bengal, CM Announces Compensation Of Rs 2.5 Lakh Each For Kin Of Deceased
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•May 21, 2020



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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said as many has 72 people have died in the state in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan -- 15 of them are from Kolkata. She said all the dead were victims of tree and house collapse and electrocution. "I have never seen such a disaster before. I will ask PM Modi to visit the state and see the situation," said Banerjee. "There have been casualties. I announce a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to the families of those who died in the cyclone."
 
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