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Cyclone Amphan kills 72 in Bengal

Cyclone Amphan kills 72 in Bengal
A scooterist tries to pass under an uprooted tree in the aftermath of super cyclone ‘Amphan’, in Kolkata, Thursday.
KOLKATA/BHUBANESWAR, MAY 21 | Publish Date: 5/21/2020 12:17:50 PM IST

CCyclone Amphan weakened Thursday, a day after tearing through West Bengal where 72 people were killed and two districts were “completely devastated” with thousands of people left homeless, bridges washed away and low-lying areas in waist deep water.

The fiercest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years destroyed mud houses and crops, and uprooted trees and electric poles. It also wreaked havoc in Odisha damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts. Odisha government officials estimated that the cyclone has affected around 44.8 lakh people in the state.

“So far as per the reports we have received, 72 people have died in the state due to Cyclone Amphan. Two districts -- North and South 24 Pargana -- are completely devastated. We have to rebuild those districts from scratch. I would urge the Central government to extend all help to the state,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters after conducting a review meeting. The chief minister also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for family members of each of the deceased. Besides North and South 24 Parganas and Kolkata, the districts of East Midnapore and Howrah were the worst hit as portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down in several places.

The death toll included 17 from North 24 Parganas, 15 from Kolkata, 10 from Basirhat and four from the South 24 Parganas-Sunderban region, officials said.

Senior officials of West Bengal government said it was too early to estimate the exact death toll or damage to property as worst hit areas were still not accessible.

In Kolkata, hundreds of cars were overturned in the strong winds with speed up to 125 kmph that also felled trees and electricity poles blocking key arterial roads and intersections. Large parts of Kolkata and other affected districts went without power.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said no stone will be left unturned in helping those affected by the cyclone.  Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said the cyclone has weakened significantly and moved to Bangladesh where 10 people have been killed.

National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) reviewed rescue and relief operations in West Bengal and Odisha at a meeting in Delhi and was told that minimal loss of lives was reported due to accurate forecast by IMD and timely deployment of NDRF troops.

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