The devastation of super cyclone Amphan

Amphan, the second super-cyclone to strike the Indian mainland made landfall in the West Bengal coast on the afternoon of Wednesday, 20th May, 2020. Amphan was estimated to be the strongest ever storm system to originate in the Bay of Bengal since records are available. By the night of Monday, 18th May, it had picked up wind speed of 270 kms per hour. Although the windspeeds were substantially reduced by the time it made landfall, they were still extremely severe. Coastal Bengal was hit by wind gusts blowing at 180-90 kms per hour. Capital Calcutta experienced winds at 110-130 kms per hour accompanied by heavy rainfall. A surge in waves of 5 m (16 feet) inundated large swathes of the coastal areas. As of now, there have been 80 casualties with 19 of them in Calcutta. Early estimations place damage to agriculture to the tune of 88,000 hectares (2, 17,000 acres) of rice paddies and 2,00,000 hectares (5,00,000 acres) of vegetable and sesame crops lost. Adjacent Orissa also faced some damage with 2 deaths reported from there.

Four districts of south Bengal, Calcutta, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore have been worst hit due to the cyclone. Significant damage has also happened in other districts like Howrah, Hooghly and Nadia. In Calcutta, the storm uprooted over 4000 signal posts and approximately 5000 trees. Even now, many parts of the city and the southern districts of the state remain without electricity and drinking water. Mobile network has also been severely affected. The mangrove forests of Sunderbans which had suffered catastrophic damage during the Aila cyclone of 2009 have again witnessed devastating damage – the extent of which is yet to be fully ascertained. The prime minister is making an aerial survey of the devastated areas along with the chief minister of West Bengal.

Some images of the devastation caused by super cyclone Amphan (All images sourced from social media)

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