In the phase of corona pandemic, catastrophes are happening one after the other. The situation has become farrago where we don’t know how and how many catastrophes we have to deal with. On Wednesday, super cyclone Amphan crossed West Bengal– Bangladesh coast between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Island (Bangladesh) across Sunderbans near latitude 21.65N and longitude 88.3E between 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm with the wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph killing more than 12 people and pulverizing roads, forests and buildings.
This cyclone (Amphan) means ‘sky’. The name was given by Thailand in 2004. Eye of the cyclone was measured approximately 30kilometre in diameter. Cyclone Amphan began with a speed of 69kmph and with time it reached 105kmph at around 5:30 pm and thereafter the speed was even high.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said “at least 10-12 people have died and various districts of South Bengal have been devastated by Amphan”. She also said that “there is untold devastation and it will take days to assess the extent of the damage in the state”. In the Dumdum area, maximum wind speed recorded was 133 kmph at 19:20 IST. Districts of East Midnapore, South 24 Pargana and North 24 Pargana were worst affected. The same areas were affected by cyclone Bulbul in November 2019.
In Kolkata, trees were uprooted in over thirty areas including New Alipore, Central Avenue, SN Banerjee road, Bidhan Sarani, Shakespeare Sarani, Prince Anwar Shah Road, Gariahat and others. All major roads were blocked by the uprooted trees and traffic signals. In 24 North pargana 5,500 houses were pulverized, 2 people died and several were injured. Among those who are dead is a girl of mere 13 years, Laxmi kumari, who stepped out of her house and a concrete chunk fell on her head. She was rushed to Howrah state general hospital where she was declared brought dead. Those who are dead also include a lady who kicked the bucket when a tree fell on her.
The cyclone made landfall in coastal areas of West Bengal leaving a trail of destruction. It also raged many building to the ground in South Bengal.
“The damage and the death toll would have been much worse had we not evacuated more than 5 lakh people at a day’s notice”, comparing Amphan with the cyclone ‘Aila’ in 2009, Mamata added that if ‘Aila’ was 10 then Amphan was 110. All the roads were blocked in the state and Kolkata airport has been shut till 5 am today (Thursday).
Many people have said that they have not seen or experienced anything like this before in their life. As announced by GK Das, Director of Regional Meteorological Centre “Amphan was the strongest cyclone to hit Kolkata in the century and fiercer than any of the pervious cyclone occurred in Kolkata”.
“The forecast has turned out to be accurate, indicating that the prediction of rainfall, wind and tidal wave has also been correct. This has increased the confidence of disaster management authorities,” Union minister Harsh Vardhan said.
Chief Minister further said “on one hand we are fighting with Covid-19 and on the other hand lakhs of migrants are coming back; Over all this now the cyclone. I think this disaster is bigger than Corona. I would request Centre to please forget politics and cooperate with us to save the life of people”.