Recovery begins after Cyclone Amphan ravages Indian and Bangladeshi coast

Recovery begins after Cyclone Amphan ravages Indian and Bangladeshi coast

Authorities are clearing roads and assessing damage after Cyclone Amphan barrelled through coastal communities in eastern India and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing more than 100 people and leaving millions displaced.

In India’s West Bengal state, which bore the brunt of the storm that caused extensive flooding in its capital Kolkata, police and disaster response teams removed fallen trees and other debris, repaired communication lines and began moving hundreds of thousands of people out of shelters.

Amphan hit land on Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, dumping heavy rain amid a battering storm surge.

A shopkeeper in Kolkata, India (Bikas Das/AP)
A shopkeeper in Kolkata, India (Bikas Das/AP)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the cyclone should be treated as a national disaster and appealed for assistance from the federal government.

Prime minister Narendra Modi surveyed the worst-hit areas of West Bengal and neighbouring Odisha state by air.

It was his first trip outside the national capital after imposing a coronavirus lockdown in late March.

“The country is already going through a crisis and during that time we have to deal with a cyclone,” he said in West Bengal.

He announced a £160 million relief fund for the two storm-battered states.

Bhadrak district in Orissa (Indian Red Cross Society/AP)
Bhadrak district in Orissa (Indian Red Cross Society/AP)

There are fears the cyclone could exacerbate the spread of coronavirus in overcrowded emergency shelters.

In an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh said the cyclone caused about £106 million in damage to infrastructure, housing, fisheries, livestock, water resources and agriculture.

The full extent of the damage along India’s eastern coast was not immediately known.

Authorities in both countries managed to evacuate more than three million people before Amphan struck.

At least 80 people were killed in West Bengal state and two deaths were reported in Odisha state.

Broadcasters in Bangladesh reported 22 deaths.

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