At least ten people were killed and 2.73 lakh families were affected in West Bengal as cyclone Bulbul pounded coastal areas of the state on Saturday, PTI reported.
Five people were killed in separate incidents in North Parganas district, and one person died in Basirhat city when a tree fell on him, while another man was killed at a club in Ballygunge Place area of Kolkata. A man was electrocuted after he came in contact with a lamp post in North 24 Parganas district, and two others died in South 24 Parganas district in cyclone-related incidents.
State Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan said that at least 2,473 houses were destroyed and 26,000 were partially damaged because of the cyclone. He added that 2.73 lakh families were affected in the storm and 1.78 lakh people were moved to relief camps set up in nine places of the state.
The cyclone made its landfall in Sagar Island in the Sunderbans delta around 8 pm on Saturday. By Sunday morning, it moved northeastwards into Bangladesh. “The cyclone is likely to weaken into a deep depression over coastal Bangladesh and adjoining south and North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal during next six hours,” the India Meteorological Department said in its morning bulletin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday assured all help to West Bengal government. “Spoke to WB CM regarding the situation arising due to Cyclone Bulbul,” he tweeted. “Assured all possible help from the Centre. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being.”
South 24-Parganas was the worst affected district. In North 24-Parganas district, Sandehkhali, Basirhat, Hasnabad, Bakkhali, Sagar Island, Kakdwip and Namkhana faced destruction. “In East Midnapore district, Khejuri, Nandigram, Ramnagar and Digha have been badly hit by Bulbul,” an unidentified government official told News18.
Schools will remain closed in the affected areas on Monday, announced the state government.
Kolkata airport resumed flight operations from 6 am on Sunday after suspending operations for 12 hours. Some parts of the city are still under water, reported ANI.
The state government will assess the damage using drones. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state government would financially help those affected by the cyclone. “We are reviewing the aftermath,” she said. “Compensation packages will be announced after the assessment is done.”
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar praised Banerjee for tackling the situation effectively. “Adverse impact has been contained, thanks to Hon’ble CM leading from the front and there being synergy between state and central agencies,” he tweeted. “Appeal to NGOs to particularly come forward and render rehabilitation assistance to the needy.”
“Due to the severe cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’, I have decided to postpone my North Bengal visit in the coming week,” Banerjee said in a tweet. “Instead, tomorrow I would take an aerial survey of the affected areas around Namkhana and Bakkhali.”
“Later I would take a meeting at Kakdwip with administration to review relief and rehabilitation measures of the cyclone-affected people,” she added. “I am also planning to visit the cyclone-affected areas of Basirhat of North 24-Parganas on 13 November.”
State Power Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said measures were being taken to restore power supply in areas where electric cables have been torn apart because of the cyclone. Meanwhile, Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan said all emergency services have been put in place to ensure that the uprooted trees are removed at the earliest.
In Odisha, the cyclone brought heavy rainfall and gusty winds. Two deaths were reported from Kendrapara district – one while drowning and the other in a wall collapse case, reported NDTV. The authorities in Bangladesh have evacuated around 1 lakh people from low-lying coastal areas as a precautionary measure.
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