A POWERFUL cyclone Amphan that tore into West Bengal has killed 72 people and “completely devastated” two districts as Kolkata and several parts of the State wore a battered look on Thursday a day after the storm left thousands of people homeless, washed away bridges and swamped low-lying areas. The fiercest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years that destroyed mud houses and agriculture crops, and uprooted trees and electric poles also wreaked havoc in Odisha damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts. Odisha Government officials estimated it 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 Parganas are completely devastated. We have to rebuild those districts from scratch. I would urge the Central Government to extend all help to the State,” Banerjee told reporters after conducting a review meeting with officials.
“I will visit the affected areas very soon. The restoration work will start soon. “I have never witnessed such a fierce cyclone and destruction in my life. I would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and visit Cyclone Amphan-affected areas.” The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for the 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. Senior officials of the West Bengal Government said it was too early to estimate the exact death toll or damage to property as the worst hit areas were still not accessible. Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chief Ministers of Odisha and West Bengal -- Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee -- and assured them of all central help to deal with the prevailing situation.
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. More than five lakh people were already evacuated to safety by the State Government.
PM to undertake aerial survey today
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi will undertake an aerial survey of “cyclone-hit” areas on Friday, official sources said. No stone will be left unturned in helping those affected by cyclone ‘Amphan’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday. “Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan,” the Prime Minister tweeted. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal, he said. “Praying for the well-being of the people of the State. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy,” he said. National Disaster Response Force teams are working in the cyclone-affected parts, he pointed out. “Top officials are closely monitoring the situation and also working in close coordination with the West Bengal Government. No stone will be left unturned in helping the affected,” he said. The Prime Minister said his thoughts are with the people of Odisha as the State bravely battles the effects of the cyclone. The authorities, Modi said, are working on the ground to ensure all possible assistance to the those affected. “I pray that the situation normalises at the earliest,” he said.