Chaos as Cyclone Amphan strikes Bengal, Odisha; ‘More worrying than Covid-19’, says Mamta

Cyclone Amphan, one of the worst storms over the Bay of Bengal in years, has killed 12 people in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday. The powerful cyclone destroyed thousands of homes, leaving authorities struggling to mount relief efforts amid the coronavirus crisis. Bengal took the brunt of Cyclone Amphan, which barreled into the coast with gusting winds of up to 185 km per hour.

Ms Banerjee said the impact of Amphan was worse than the coronavirus pandemic and claimed damages due to the cyclone could be in the region of Rs 1 lakh crore.

At least two districts have been completely battered by one of the strongest storms to hit the region in several years.

“Area after area has been devastated. Communications are disrupted,” said Ms Banerjee , adding that although 5 lakh people had been evacuated, state authorities had not entirely anticipated the ferocity of the storm. With rains continuing, she said the hardest hits areas were not immediately accessible.

“I am sitting in the war room. My office in Nabanna is shaking. I am tackling a difficult situation on a war footing. The storm is likely to continue till midnight,” Ms Banerjee said in a statement on Wednesday night.

In state capital Kolkata, strong winds upturned cars and felled trees and electricity poles. Parts of the city were plunged into darkness. The streets were waterlogged and trees uprooted.