At least three people died in West Bengal and over 5,000 houses were damaged as Cyclone Amphan made its landfall in the state on Wednesday, NDTV reported. Heavy rain and power cuts were reported in several parts of Kolkata. East Midnapore and North 24 Parganas districts were also battered by rain.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the cyclone’s impact on the state was worse than that of the coronavirus. “Damages may be worth Rs 1 lakh crore,” she said. The toll is expected to go up.
Strong winds uprooted trees in Bengal and Odisha. Weather officials warned people of massive damage to communication and power lines.
Trees were seen falling on transformers in Kolkata, causing loud explosions and massive sparking.
More videos show roaring winds and heavy rain ripping through the city.
In Howrah district, the roof of a school building was blown away by high-speed winds.
The National Disaster Response Force held a press briefing on measures to deal with the onslaught of the cyclone, which came amid the escalating coronavirus crisis. NDRF Chief SN Pradhan said over six lakh people had been moved to relief shelters in Bengal and Odisha. He added that 20 teams had been deployed in Odisha and 19 in Bengal.
The India Meteorological Department in Kolkata said the storm was likely to retain its intensity till Thursday morning. HR Biswas, the director of the weather office’s branch in Bhubaneswar, said the cyclone was now situated 70 kilometers south of Kolkata. “While crossing, the cyclone’s wind speed was 155-165 kilometre per hour, gusting to 185,” he told the news agency. “Now it is located 35 kilometres North East of Sagar island in West Bengal and 70 kilometres south of Kolkata.”
Bangladesh reported its first casualty from the cyclone on Wednesday, according to AFP. More than 24 lakh people in the country have been moved to shelters.