After Cyclone Aphan made landfall on Wednesday afternoon, relentless rains have caused waterlogging in several parts of Kolkata. At least 10 people were killed, ravaging West Bengal at a time when coronavirus pandemic is at its peak. According to met officials, it would take 5 to 6 hours for the cyclone to pass over Bengal and the rains are expected to continue till Friday. According to officials, the extent of the damage and loss of lives cannot be ascertained unless the storm ends.
In Kolkata, the storm began with a wind speed of 69 kmph but it reached 130 kmph at around 6.55 pm and thereafter increased its intensity. In the Dum Dum area, the maximum wind speed recorded was 133 kmph at 1920 IST. Districts of East Midnapore, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas were worst affected. The same areas were affected by cyclone Bulbul in November 2019.
Dozens of trees have been uprooted at major thoroughfares, electric posts have been affected and electric supply has been cut off in several parts of the city already.
According to the Met department, the cyclone is moving in a north-northeast direction and will reach Kolkata around 6.30 pm on way to Howrah, Hooghly, and West Midnapore districts before heading to Bangladesh during midnight.
However, many experts are of the view that Cyclone Amphan will cause bigger damage to property and lives than Aila and Bulbul did.
The state government had already moved over 5 Lakh people to cyclone shelters in various districts. However, the administration had to cautious due to the COVID-19 situation in Bengal and tried their best to maintain social distancing. NDRF and state disaster management teams with PPE have been placed in affected areas.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that at least 10 to 12 people have died and various districts of South Bengal have been devastated by Amphan.
Banerjee said: "On one hand we are fighting with COVID-19 on the other hand lakhs of migrants are coming back. Overall this now the cyclone. I think that this (Amphan) is a disaster bigger than COVID-19. I would request (center) please forget politics and cooperate with us and save the people,” she added."
(With inputs from agencies)