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India: Cyclone Amphan Operation Update 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 185kmph. It then moved north-northeast and further weakening into a Cyclonic Storm, and lay centered over Bangladesh on 21 May 2020, about 270km 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. Though wind speed had weakened by the time it struck, it was still classified as a very severe cyclone. COVID-19 restrictions hindered in 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. The cyclone affected more than 18 million people, killed around 90 people and caused damages over 13 billion US dollars (CHF 12.5 billion). At the time of reporting, the Indian government’s inter-ministerial central teams had carried out an assessment of cyclone damages in the states of Odisha and West Bengal, to determine supplementary assistance needed from the government. The assessment report is awaited.