Cyclone 'Amphan' has killed at least 12 persons and caused extreme damage to Kolkata and several parts of West Bengal as it left behind a trail of destruction by uprooting trees, destroying thousands of homes and swamping low-lying areas of the state. CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said that immediate relief and rehabilitation is the priority to deal with the after-effects of the Cyclone. He added that the Centre should declare this as a "national calamity."
Amphan has caused horrific devastation in Bengal and Odisha. Immediate relief and rehabilitation is the priority. Deepest condolences to families of those who lost their lives. We expect the Centre to declare this a national calamity.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) May 21, 2020
Taking to Twitter, Yechury wrote, "Amphan has been more devastating than Aila (2009) and Bulbul (2019). We are with the people at this critical time when they are besieged, anyway combating COVID19 and its consequences."
Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 190 kph, extremely severe cyclone Amphan slammed Digha coast of West Bengal at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, triggering heavy rainfall and gusting in various parts of the state. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been monitoring the situation at state secretariat Nabanna since Tuesday night, said the impact of Amphan was "worse than coronavirus".
Reports arriving in Kolkata from North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore said roofs of thatched houses were blown away, electric poles got twisted and hundreds of trees broken and uprooted. There was a massive power cut in large parts of Kolkata, North 24 Paraganas and South Paraganas. The mobile and internet services were also down as the cyclone had damaged several communication towers.
More than five lakh people have been evacuated to safety by the West Bengal government. The "super cyclonic storm" Amphan has moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kilometres per hour during the past six hours, further weakened into a "cyclonic storm" and lay centred on Thursday over Bangladesh.
"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next 3 hours and into a depression during subsequent 6 hours," IMD said in its bulletin on Thursday morning. It has also issued a heavy rainfall warning for Assam and Meghalaya stating that light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places very likely over the western districts of Assam and Meghalaya on May 21.
(With agency inputs)