Kolkata airport.

Kolkata airport.

Kolkata bears brunt of Cyclone Amphan; CM says 72 dead, trail of destruction

Like nothing I have seen in my life: Mamata; Modi to do aerial survey

Agency Report | Kolkata/New Delhi | 21 May, 2020 | 11:30 PM

Kolkata has been left devastated by the worst cyclone it has seen in 100 years, which swept through east India and Bangladesh on Wednesday and killed at least 84 people. Kolkata, home to almost 15 million people, bore the brunt of Cyclone Amphan, which tore roofs off buildings, smashed windows, pulled down trees and pylons and overturned cars. Most of the fatalities were caused by falling trees or electrocution. Millions of people were left without power and telephone connection, and some areas were without drinking water. Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, said the damage was like “nothing I have seen in my life” and two districts of the city had been “completely devastated. We have to rebuild those districts from scratch.”

A day after severe cyclone Amphan wrecked havoc in several West Bengal districts, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the storm left at least 72 people dead and many homeless besides snapping electricity, internet connection and other communication tools in large parts of the state.

Addressing a press conference at the state secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee said: “The total number of deaths due to cyclone Amphan stands at 72 — 57 in the districts and 15 in Kolkata. The loss is really huge. It’s worse than the coronavirus pandemic.”

Banerjee said that most of the connectivity network across the state has gone for a toss during the six-hour-long nature’s fury the region witnessed on Wednesday evening.

“I have requested the Prime Minister to pay a visit to the affected areas of the state, mainly the coastal districts situated along the Bay of Bengal and its surrounding areas,” she said, adding that everything has been ruined by the cyclone.

Banerjee also said that she would soon visit the affected areas. “We will soon start the restoration work. There have been large scale power cuts in many areas of Kolkata and North and South 24 Parganas, while telephone and mobile connections are also down in many parts,” Banerjee said.

Cyclone Amphan crossed the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast between East Midnapore, Digha and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh across the Sunderban region on Wednesday evening with a wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.

The cyclonic spell also left the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport in complete disarray with a portion of it found damaged due to the severe storm and heavy rainfall.

Many neighbourhoods of Kolkata and its twin district Howrah were severely waterlogged as the regions witnessed heavy rains and massive gush of wind storms that damaged the roofs of several buildings and uprooted a number of trees and electric poles.

Cyclone Amphan left a huge trail of damage in Kolkata’s neighbouring South and North 24 Parganas districts.

Mobile and cable networks continued to remain unstable in Kolkata and Howrah even on Thursday.

The Chief Minister also took to Twitter to express her feelings. “Cyclone Amphan has left a trail of devastation beyond our thoughts. While the material damage is substantial, Bengal stands united in this time of crisis. Together we will overcome this because nothing can dampen the spirit and strength of the people of Bengal,” she tweeted.

Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport recommenced operations from Thursday afternoon after it was inundated by heavy rains due to Cyclone ‘Amphan’.

According to sources at the airport, operations recommenced at noon with the arrival of a Russian chartered plane for evacuation of stranded Russian nationals.

However, some parts of the airport still remain inundated with water, which is being pumped out.

An Air India official said: “Our hangar has suffered structural damage due to the storm. Ground teams are trying to assess the damage. However, due to the conditions there, the work is going at a slow speed.”

“None of our aircraft was damaged in this storm.”

Further, Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal told reporters that two aircraft of the national carrier parked at the Kolkata airport were not damaged while a private aircraft which was parked in the Air India’s hangar was damaged.

The super cyclone had a severe impact in West Bengal as it left at least 72 people dead and damaged property to a great extent.

Scenes from Kolkata airport showed the damage left behind as large airliners stood in a river of water. Houses were flattened, a massive number of trees uprooted as many feared damage to iconic structures in the city as well, as reports still pour in.

With landlines severed and no electricity for hours through the raging storm, many tweeted photos of destruction to property, waterlogging right inside their kitchen as they paddled through pools of water.

The severe cyclonic storm on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh about 270 north-northeastwards of Kolkata with a wind speed of 27 kmph.

The super cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) moved “north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during the past six hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday over Bangladesh near latitude 24.7 N and Longitude 89.5 E about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh)”, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

“It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours and into a depression during subsequent six hours,” the IMD said.

It said that the Cyclone is now centred over Bangladesh and it will have no adverse impact over West Bengal and Odisha — a good sign as it cut a swathe through northern Odisha before bearing down on West Bengal where it claimed scores of lives, flattened houses and cast aside trees and electricity poles like matchsticks in six-and-a-half hours of monstrous fury that left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverised.

While Odisha was spared the worst of Amphan, the Sunderbans region and six south Bengal districts felt the full impact of winds gusting at 155-165 kmph along with torrential rain after the cyclone made landfall near Sagar Island around 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday and entered Kolkata, about a 100 km north, arou nd 5 p.m.

Amphan, a Thai name means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.

Scenes of large uprooted trees, damaged houses and flown off roofs were just the beginning when Super Cyclone Amphan made its appearance less that 24 hours back, as it pummelled through the night over Kolkata and large parts of West Bengal it left behind a trail of deaths as at least 12 people were killed.

Scenes from Kolkata airport showed the damage left behind as large airliners stood in a river of water with facilities damaged. This is the most devastating cyclone that struck the city in centuries, some wondered since the 1737 when the Calcutta cyclone killed many, while others said nothing like this have they crossed in the past few decades. Houses were flattened, massive number of trees uprooted as many feared damage to iconic structures in the city as well, and reports still pour in

Amitav Ghosh, the renowned author, who along with many others tweeted concern for their old parents stuck alone in the city amid the covid-induced lockdown. Ghosh said: “The terror they have been through is evident in their voices,” as he was finally able to touch base with his folks.

With landlines severed and no electricity for hours as the people managed through the raging storm, many tweeted photos of destruction to property, waterlogging right inside their kitchen as they paddled through pools of water. A taxi stand in Maniktala was completely submerged. End of Days-kind of scenes were witnessed as wind at 185 kmph blew through the railings of the iconic Howrah Bridge.

The severe cyclonic storm on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh about 270 north-northeastwards of Kolkata with a wind speed of 27 kmph.

The super cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) moved “north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during the past six hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday over Bangladesh near latitude 24.7eN and Longitude 89.5eE about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh)”, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

“It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours and into a depression during subsequent six hours,” the IMD said.

In the first few hours Amphan already destroyed over 5,000 houses in Minakhan, Haroa, Basirhat Hingalgunj and Hasnabad areas of North 24 Parganas district. Most of the areas in Howrah and North 24 Parganas faced massive power cuts due to heavy rainfall. Roofs of several houses also collapsed as a result of the strong winds during the cyclonic spell. There have been damages inside the state secretariat building Nabanna as well.

Two teams of NDRF have already started road clearance work at Shyampur Block in Howrah district, sources said. “We will ask the Centre to look at the extent of damages with a humane face. As per our initial estimates, 10-12 people have died. We feel the loss of lives could even surpass that caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Banerjee said.

Amphan, a Thai name means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit West Bengal and Odisha on Friday to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan which has wreaked havoc in these two states.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday demanded Prime Minister Modi visit the state. After which PMO sources informed about the visit of Modi on Friday.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Modi will arrive at Kolkata airport at 10:30 am. Then from there, he will take a special survey with Banerjee and make an aerial survey of North 24 and South 24 Parganas districts and assess the damage.

Sources say that Prime Minister Modi will also go to Odisha after West Bengal. There he will conduct an aerial survey of the devastation caused by the cyclone in the state with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at around 1.30 pm.

According to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, 72 people have died due to the cyclone in the state. During the press conference on Thursday, Mamata Banerjee had demanded that the Prime Minister visit the state. (IANS)