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West Bengal Calls For Army's Help To Restore Essential Infrastructure Devastated By Amphan

West Bengal govt has requested the Army to lend support in the immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services devastated by Cyclone Amphan

West Bengal

The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal has requested the Indian Army to lend support in the immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services devastated by Cyclone Amphan, one of the worst storms to have hit the State in centuries. In a series of tweets on Friday, the State Home Department called for the mobilisation of "maximum strength on 24x7 basis" to restore essential services like drinking water, sanitation, and power supply.

The government also asked for assistance from the Railways and the private sector in providing manpower and equipment. The department said hundreds of teams were already at work clearing the remains of uprooted trees and buildings felled and destroyed due to heavy rains brought by Amphan and wind speeds up to 190 km per hour that gushed through coastal Bengal, particularly Kolkata.

READ | Cyclone Amphan: EU Offers €5 Lakh To India, €1.1 Million To Bangladesh For Relief Efforts

Calls for help ASAP

The department added, "Drinking water and drainage infrastructure getting restored fast. PHE asked to supply water pouches in gap pockets. Generators being hired where necessary. More than a hundred teams from multiple departments and bodies working for cutting of fallen trees, which is the key to the restoration of power in localities. WBSEDCL & CESC asked to deploy maximal manpower, even while lockdown significantly affects the deployment potential of the latter. Police on high alert."

The plea for help comes after the Indian Air Force on Friday said it has readied 25 aircraft and 31 choppers for relief operations in areas affected by Cyclone Amphan. "The aircraft/helicopters were modified with the required equipment for undertaking relief operations and are on standby with the crew for quick deployment at various IAF bases," it said in a statement.

READ | Cyclone Amphan: IAF Readies 25 Aircraft, 31 Choppers For Relief Operations

Governor welcomes move

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar was quick to welcome the move. Taking to Twitter, he said the government's decision was a "good move" in these "trying time".

Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal

Cyclone Amphan which reported winds up to 190 kmph made landfall at the Digha coast of West Bengal at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, hitting Kolkata a few hours later. There were widespread power cuts in large parts of Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, and South Parganas. Mobile and internet services were also down in parts of the State as the Cyclone damaged several communication towers. At least 80 people have been killed in the calamity, while thousands are displaced.

Streets and homes in low lying areas of Kolkata were swamped with rainwater. Portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down in Kolkata and other parts of the state. Embankments in Sundarban delta were also breached as the surge whipped up by the cyclone inundated several kilometres of the island. 

READ | Cyclone Amphan: West Bengal Asks Railway Board To Not Send Shramik Trains Till May 26

READ | Bengal Staring At Record Agri-loss Due To Cyclone Amphan: Minister

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By 2030, 40% Indians will not have access to drinking water