Cyclone ‘Amphan’ weakened Thursday, a day after tearing through West Bengal where 72 people were killed and two districts were “completely devastated” with thousands of people left homeless, bridges washed away and low-lying areas in waist deep water.
The fiercest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years destroyed mud houses and crops, and uprooted trees and electric poles. It 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,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters after conducting a review meeting with officials.
“I will visit the affected areas very soon. The restoration work will start soon. A large part of North and South 24 Parganas and Kolkata are facing massive power cut since last evening. Even telephone and mobile connections are down,” she said.
“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.
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.
Mobile and Internet services were also disrupted as the fierce cyclone had damaged several communication towers.
Residents recalled “living through hell” for six hours as the winds howled incessantly. Windows buckled from the pressure of the storm, cars floated on water logged roads, bumping against each other. Parts of air conditioners were flying around like missiles