A day after Cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc in parts of West Bengal and Odisha, NDRF Director on Thursday said "it will be a challenge" to carry out restoration work in the affected areas amidst COVID-19 outbreak. He also asserted that the teams were semi-prepared for the cyclone as they were preparing for COVID-19 as well as the cyclonic storm.
"But our teams were semi-prepared for cyclone Amphan as they were preparing for the combination of COVID-19 and floods. Our personnel observe protocols of social distancing and sanitization," NDRF Director General SN Pradhan said.
Pradhan further informed that the road clearance process has picked up the pace and has been completed in some localities. However the restoration of electricity and telecom services will take time. Four more teams of NDRF are being airlifted from other parts of India as requested by the Chief Secretary of West Bengal for restoration work, he added.
"It will take some time to restore electricity and telecom services in affected areas which will need the assistance of technicians, and we are ready to help them wherever required," Pradhan said.
SN Pradhan also shared on Twitter photographs of restoration work by NDRF personnel at various locations in West Bengal, including North 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, Howrah, Kolkata and South 24 Parganas.
Restoration work by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel underway at Airport Road in Kolkata, West Bengal: SN Pradhan, Director General of National Disaster Response Force #CycloneAmphan pic.twitter.com/wVmiiTNOjl— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2020
The cyclone Amphan has killed at least 12 persons and destroyed 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.
While a man and a woman were killed when trees came crashing down on them in North 24 Parganas district, a 13-year-old girl died in a similar incident in adjoining Howrah, officials said. Three persons were killed in Hooghly and North 24 Paraganas districts due to electrocution, they said.
A woman and her seven-year-old son were killed in the Regent Park area of Kolkata after a tree fell on them, the officials said. They said a person was killed in Kolkata after being hit by a flying object during the storm. Over 5 lakh people rescued ahead of the storm.
(With agency inputs)