In Pictures: Cyclone Amphan wreaks havoc in India, Bangladesh
At least 84 killed as cyclone hits parts of Bangladesh and India flattening houses and flooding cities and villages.
The most powerful cyclone to hit Bangladesh and eastern India in more than 20 years tore down homes, carried cars down flooded streets and killed nearly two dozen people. [Courtesy of Satyaki Sanyal via AFP]
21 May 2020
At least 84 people died as the fiercest cyclone to hit parts of Bangladesh and eastern India this century sent trees flying and flattened houses, as millions crammed into shelters despite the risks posed by coronavirus.
Millions were left without power after Cyclone Amphan, packing winds of approximately 170kph (105 miles an hour), carried away electricity pylons, walls and roofs, officials said on Thursday as they began to assess the damage.
Residents in the Indian city of Kolkata, the capital of the hard-hit West Bengal state, awoke to flooded streets, with some cars window-deep in water, and television footage of the inundated airport.
“The impact of Amphan is worse than coronavirus,” Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal, told local media, saying that at least 72 people had died in the state.
“Thousands of mud huts have been levelled, trees uprooted, roads washed away and crops destroyed,” she said.
Bangladesh officials said at least 12 people had died, including a five-year-old boy and a 75-year-old man – both hit by falling trees – and a cyclone emergency volunteer who drowned.
Officials said they were waiting for reports from the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its mangrove forest and population of endangered Bengal tigers, which bore the brunt of the storm.
“We still haven’t got the actual picture of the damage. We are particularly concerned over some wild animals. They can be washed away during a storm surge in high tide,” forest chief Moyeen Uddin Khan told AFP.
Cyclones are an annual and growing hazard along the Bay of Bengal coast, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in recent decades.
But in recent years, despite an increase in their frequency blamed partly on climate change, improved warning systems have enabled authorities to be much better prepared.
Residents of the Indian city of Kolkata, the capital of hard-hit West Bengal, awoke to flooded streets and footage of the inundated Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. [AFP]
An aerial view shows flooded houses and buildings as a dam broke after the landfall of cyclone Amphan in Shyamnagar, Bangladesh. [Munir uz Zaman/AFP]
Houses damaged by cyclone Amphan in Satkhira, Bangladesh. [Munir uz Zaman/AFP]
Villagers salvage items from their house in Midnapore, West Bengal. [Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP]
A man walks with his bicycle under an uprooted tree in South 24 Parganas district, in the eastern state of West Bengal, India. [Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]
The full extent of the casualties and damage to property inflicted by Cyclone Amphan would only be known once communications are restored, officials said. [Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]
A man salvages his belongings from the rubble of a damaged shop in South 24 Parganas district in the eastern state of West Bengal. [Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]
While at least 72 people died in the Indian state of West Bengal and 12 in neighbouring Bangladesh, mass evacuations organised by authorities undoubtedly saved countless lives. [Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]
Most deaths were caused by trees uprooted by winds that gusted up to 170km/h (105 mph). [Screengrab: ANI via Reuters]