Cyclone leaves behind trail of destruction in West Bengal; 12 dead

05/21/2020

Kolkata, May 21: Extremely severe cyclone 'Amphan' has killed at least 12 persons and ravaged Kolkata and several parts of West Bengal as it left behind a trail of destruction by uprooting trees, destroying thousands of homes and swamping low-lying areas of the state.

While a man and a woman were killed when trees came crashing down on them in North 24 Parganas district, a 13-year-old girl died in a similar incident in adjoining Howrah, officials said.

Three persons were killed in Hooghly and North 24 Paraganas districts due to electrocution, they said.

A woman and her seven-year-old son were killed in the Regent park area of Kolkata after a tree fell on them, the officials said.

They said a person was killed in Kolkata after being hit by a flying object during the storm.

Senior state officials said it was too early to estimate a toll on life or damage to property as the hardest hit areas were still not accessible.

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.

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.

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.

There was a massive power cut in large parts of Kolkata, North 24 Paraganas and South Paraganas. The mobile and internet services were also down as the cyclone had damaged several communication towers.

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.

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.

Thick sheets of rain blurred the state's coastline as 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.

More than five lakh people have been evacuated to safety by the state government. -Agencies

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