India

UNICEF India, West Bengal Humanitarian Situation Report No. 3, Cyclone Amphan (21 May 2020)

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The Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan (pronounced as Um-Pun) on Wednesday cut a swathe through northern Odisha before bearing down on West Bengal with a wind speed of 185 kmph.

It then moved North-Northeast with a speed of 27 kmph during past 06 hours, further weakened into a Cyclonic Storm and lay Centered at 05:30 hours IST on 21 May 2020 over Bangladesh near Lat. 24.7°N and Long. 89.5°E about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh).

Cyclone Amphan killed at least 12 people and ravaged Kolkata and several parts of West Bengal as it left behind a trail of destruction by uprooting trees, destroying thousands of homes and swamping low-lying areas of the State.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs Situation Updates:

• Among the 12 dead is 13-year-old Laksmi Kumari who stepped out of her house in Raj Chowdhury Lane and a concrete chunk fell on her head. She was rushed to Howrah state general hospital and declared dead. Nurjehan Bewa a resident of Minakha in South 24 Parganas also reportedly died after a tree fell on her. Another youth was reportedly killed in Basirhat in North 24 Parganas District after a tree fell on him. A woman died at Barrackpore, North 24 Parganas after being struck in contact with electricity.

• Senior State officials said it is too early to estimate a toll on life or damage to property as the hardest hit areas are still not accessible.

• Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 190 kmph, extremely severe Cyclone Amphan slammed Digha Coast of West Bengal at 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, triggering heavy rainfall and gusting wind in various parts of the State.

• West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was monitoring the situation at the State Secretariat Nabanna since Tuesday night, said the impact of Amphan is "worse than Coronavirus".

• The Cyclone barreled through the coastal districts of North and South 24 Paraganas of Bengal, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping low lying towns and villages, officials said.

• Strong winds with speed up to 125 kmph per hour upturned cars in Kolkata and felled trees and electricity poles blocking important roads and intersections.

• Ground Reports coming from North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore said roofs of thatched houses were blown away, electric poles got twisted and hundreds of trees broken and uprooted.

• There is a massive power cut in large parts of Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. The mobile and internet services are also down as the cyclone had damaged several communication towers.

• Streets and homes in low lying areas of Kolkata are swamped with rainwater.

• Portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down in Kolkata and other parts of the state.

• Embankments in Sundarban delta - a UNESCO site - were breached as the surge whipped up by the cyclone inundated several kilometers of the Island.