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India: Cyclone Amphan Final Report (DREF n° MDRIN025)



Description of the disaster

On 20 May 2020, Cyclone Amphan cut a swathe through the northern part of the Indian state of Odisha, before bearing down on the state of West Bengal, with a wind speed of 185 kilometers per hour. It then moved north-northeast, further weakening into a Cyclonic Storm and lay centered over Bangladesh on 21 May 2020, about 270 kilometers north-northeast of the city of Kolkata in West Bengal.

The Super Cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as Um-Pun) was a deadly tropical cyclone which caused widespread damage in the coastal districts of Odisha and West Bengal in India and Bangladesh. It was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the River Ganges Delta since the 1999 Odisha Super Cyclone. West Bengal, the epicenter of the cyclone's landfall, saw the most widespread damage from Amphan. The storm was considered the strongest to hit the region in over a decade. At least 86 people died in West Bengal; most of the fatalities were due to electrocution or the collapse of homes. The state government estimated that the storm caused at least 1.02 trillion Indian Rupees (13.5 billion US Dollars or 12.1 billion Swiss Francs) in damage and directly affected 70 per cent of the state's population.

The neighboring state of Odisha saw significant effects, with wind speeds reaching 106 kilometers per hour and rainfall up to 300 millimeters. Damage to the power grid reached 3.2 billion Indian Rupees (42 million US Dollars or 40 million Swiss Francs). Four people died in Odisha, two from collapsed objects, one due to drowning, and one from head trauma. Across the ten affected districts in Odisha, 4.4 million people were impacted in some way by the cyclone. At least 500 homes were destroyed and a further 15,000 were damaged. Nearly 4,000 livestock, primarily poultry, died. The cyclone was strongest in its northeast section. Though wind speed had weakened by the time it struck, it was still classified as a very severe cyclone. COVID-19 restrictions hindered emergency and relief operations. COVID-19 social-distancing measures made mass evacuations difficult with cyclone shelters and other facilities unable to be used to their full capacity.