The impact of Cyclone Amphan was “worse than coronavirus”, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, indicating the trail of devastation the three-hour landfall left through the heart of the state capital Kolkata this evening. Three people have died and the Chief Minister said the number of casualties can even go up to 12.
Giving a ballpark figure of Rs 1 lakh crore as a cost of the damages, Ms Banerjee said, “We have to re-build everything. I appeal to the Centre — no politics please, we want humanitarian help”.
The districts of the North and South 24 Parganas were the worst hit and Bengal “will have to re-build everything”, she said.
After a day of rain and strong winds, the severe cyclonic storm, which had an eye spread over 30 km, roared into Kolkata around 2.30 pm, with wind speed of 100 to 120 km. For the next four hours, the city received a battering, the like of which hasn’t happened in decades.
Trees and electricity poles were uprooted, parked cars dashed against each other, homes were waterlogged in low-lying areas, some houses sustained severe damages with window panes shattering and boundary walls crumbling.
Parts of Kolkata went without electricity for hours. Power supply had been cut in North and the South 24 Parganas districts earlier as a precautionary measure.
Amphan was expected to be supercyclone — like the one with 300 km per hour wind speed that battered Odisha for nearly 30 hours in 1999. But on Tuesday, it weakened to an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” as it neared the coast of Bengal and Odisha. Tuesday had been rainy and windy in both states.
The weather office said the cyclonic storm will get weaker while crossing over Bengal’s Nadia and Murshidabad districts tonight before entering Bangladesh as a deep depression.