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Cyclone Amphan: Mamata Banerjee says damages could be worth Rs 1 trillion

Banerjee, who is monitoring the situation from Nabanna, the state secretariat, however, claimed at least 10-12 people lost their lives

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Cyclone | West Bengal

Agencies  |  Kolkata/Bhubaneswar/New Delhi 

Cyclone, Cyclone Amphan, rains, floods, storm
A woman tries to protect her son from heavy rain as they rush to a safer place following their evacuation from a slum area in Kolkata. Photo: Reuters

Chief Minister on Wednesday said damages due to Amphan could be worth Rs 1 trillion as the extremely severe cyclone, packing winds of up to 190 kmph, rampaged through coastal Odisha and

It resulted in heavy downpour, leaving at least three people dead.

While a man and a woman were reported killed when trees came crashing down on them in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, a 13-year-old girl died in a similar incident in adjoining Howrah. No casualties have been reported from Odisha yet.

Banerjee, who is monitoring the situation from Nabanna, the state secretariat, however, claimed at least 10-12 people lost their lives.

“Area after area has been ruined. I have experienced a war-like situation today. At least 10-12 people have died.

Nandigram, Ramnagar... the two districts of North and South 24 Parganas are destroyed,” she said.

After making landfall at 2.30 pm between Digha in and Hatiya island in Bangladesh, Amphan cut a swathe through the coastal areas, flattening fragile dwellings, uprooting trees and electric poles. At least 658,000 people were evacuated in West Bengal and Odisha before the struck.

ALSO READ: Cyclone 'Amphan' batters Bengal, Odisha as 650,000 evacuated; 3 dead

“The forward sector of the wall cloud region is entering into land in West Bengal. The intensity of the cyclone near its centre as the landfall process started was recorded at 160-170 kmph, gusting to 190 kmph,” the weather department said.

NDRF chief S N Pradhan told a press conference in New Delhi that 20 teams of the federal disaster response force had already begun road clearing operations in Odisha, while the 19 units deployed in West Bengal were shifting people to safety.

Quoting figures made available by the two states, Pradhan said over 500,000 people were evacuated in West Bengal and more than 158,000 in Odisha.

TV footage showed gigantic tidal waves crashing into a seawall in Digha, close to the landfall site. Thick sheets of rain blurred the vast coastline in the two states and surging waters engulfed mud-and-thatch houses, flattening them in a trice.

Heavy machinery was moved in to clear the roads blocked by falling trees. A video clip of an under-construction Kolkata skyscraper showed huge aluminium sheets flying like bird feathers in air.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrityunjay Mohapatra, who jointly addressed the media with Pradhan, said gale-strength winds speeding at 160-170 kmph were pounding South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts and could be gusting up to 185 kmph.

He said the wall of the eye of the monster cyclone, the most explosive part of a cyclonic system, triggered copious rain in the three districts. The eye of the storm itself was 30 km in diameter, he said.

Mohapatra said the intensity of the rain and winds accompanying it could deceptively look like ebbing away briefly, but will surge afresh once the rear sector of the storm has reached the landmass.

The whole cyclonic system reached the landmass by 7 pm, before moving forward in fury. Reports arriving in Kolkata from North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore said roofs of thatched houses were blown away, electric poles got twisted and hundreds of trees broken and uprooted.

Streets and homes in low lying areas of Kolkata were swamped with rainwater.

Alipore in central Kolkata recorded a massive 222 mm of rainfall and Dumdum 194 mm between 8 am and 8:30 pm. Even when the rain stopped in most parts of Kolkata after 9 pm, high-velocity winds continued to sweep the metropolis and its satellite towns. Almost the entire city was plunged into darkness since the evening as electric supply either got snapped due to rain and wind or was suspended as a precautionary measure. Cell phone services were disrupted in many places.

Despite losing its force a bit since Tuesday, the storm, which was categorised as super cyclone at one point of time, left the two eastern states on edge as it hollered on its destructive path.

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 02:00 IST
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