People make way through gusty winds as super cyclone Amphan makes landfall, near Dhamara Port in Bhadrak district. (PTI) Hindu Times
The most powerful cyclone to strike eastern India and Bangladesh in over a decade has killed 84 people with many missing after a powerful cyclone tore through coastal areas and neighbouring Bangladesh, a state chief minister said on Thursday. The cyclone struck the state of West Bengal on Wednesday evening, devastating villages, tearing down power lines, and leaving large tracts of land underwater. State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the death toll stood at 84 with most caused by electrocution and falling trees. Bangladesh, where the cyclone moved on to, has so far reported 10 deaths.
Mass evacuations organised by authorities before Cyclone Amphan made landfall undoubtedly saved countless lives, but the full extent of the casualties and damage to property would only be known once communications were restored, officials said.
“I have never seen such a cyclone in my life. It seemed like the end of the world. All I could do was to pray... Almighty Allah saved us,” Azgar Ali, 49, a resident of Satkhira district on the Bangladesh coast told Reuters. At one point 14 million people were without power in the city of Kolkata. Many thousands of people have been evacuated causing a massive problem for people safe-distancing due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Tropical cyclone Amphan (Bay of Bengal) was one of the most intense Category 5 storms on record in the North Indian Ocean. A “Super Cyclonic Storm” – the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale.
The deadliest tropical cyclone on record, the Great Bhola Cyclone in November 1970, killed at least 300,000 people in modern-day Bangladesh and led to the establishment in 1972, of a body in charge of the regional coordination mechanism for tropical cyclones, the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones Extensive and coordinated disaster risk reduction campaigns have, in recent years, limited casualties.
Hurricanes and Cyclones 2020
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