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Cyclone Amphan leaves a trail of death and destruction

Cyclone Amphan leaves a trail of death and destruction

Super Cyclone Amphan, that is centered in Bangladesh, left behind a trail of destruction in Odisha and Bengal with at least 12 deaths and vast devastation.

People were left without communication and electricity. Houses were flattened, trees uprooted and many fear damage to iconic structures in the city. Amphan, a Thai name means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.

Kolkata airport bore the brunt with damaged facilities as large airliners stood in a torrent of water. People say that this has been the most devastating cyclone which struck the city in centuries, some even comparing it with the 1737 Calcutta cyclone.

The six-and-a-half hours of fury left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverised while Odisha was spared the worst of Amphan. Winds raged at 155-165 kmph along with torrential rain after the cyclone made landfall near Sagar Island around 2.30 pm on Wednesday and entered Kolkata, about a 100 km north, around 5 pm.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said, "We are not getting proper reports as the connections have been completely cut off due to the storm. But the total losses are likely to amount to thousands of crores. It will take at least 3-4 days to do an initial assessment of the losses. Many bridges and kutcha houses have been completely ravaged."

Amitav Ghosh, the renowned author, who along with many others tweeted concern for their old parents stuck alone in the city amid the covid-induced lockdown. Ghosh said: "The terror they have been through is evident in their voices," as he was finally able to touch base with his folks.

In the first few hours Amphan already destroyed over 5,000 houses in Minakhan, Haroa, Basirhat Hingalgunj and Hasnabad areas of North 24 Parganas district. Most of the areas in Howrah and North 24 Parganas faced massive power cuts due to heavy rainfall. Roofs of several houses also collapsed as a result of the strong winds during the cyclonic spell. There have been damages inside the state secretariat building Nabanna as well.

NDRF teams have started road clearance work at Shyampur Block in Howrah district, sources said. "We will ask the Centre to look at the extent of damages with a humane face. As per our initial estimates, 10-12 people have died. We feel the loss of lives could even surpass that caused by the Covid-19 pandemic," Banerjee said..