Photos: Cyclone Amphan Makes Landfall Amidst COVID-19 Crisis
Cyclone Amphan made landfall on the border between India and Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon, bringing 100-knot winds and a storm surge of up to 16 feet.
Despite complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian and Bangladeshi officials evacuated about three million people from the impact zone in advance of the storm, reducing the human toll of the cyclone. At least five individuals were killed, including three in West Bengal and two in Bangladesh.
Early images from Kolkata showed extensive property damage, including downed trees, burnt-out electrical transformers, torn-up roofing, flooding and collapsed structures. An estimated 5,500 houses were damaged or destroyed in India, and at least 500 more within coastal parts of Bangladesh.
A scene From my brother’s house in Kolkata. They say they have never seen anything like this ever. Pray to god this passes thru quickly without much damage. pic.twitter.com/88LTdD08ww— Pawan K Goenka (@GoenkaPk) May 20, 2020
The eye of the storm made landfall in the Sundarbans, the vast mangrove forest straddling the border between India and Bangladesh. The area has about four million inhabitants, many of them near the coast, and researcher Anamitra Anurag Dandra told Reuters that flood embankments in the area were likely breached - indicating broader damage.
39 response teams from India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in coastal regions of West Bengal and Odisha, the areas hit hardest by the stom. Both Indian and Bangladeshi authorities took measures to evacuate residents in advance, and about three million people were brought out of harm's way before Amphan made landfall. The evacuation occurred with COVID-19 precautionary measures in place, including the use of masks, but images show that social distancing was not always possible. The challenge was especially acute in cyclone shelters, many of which were already filled with COVID-19 evacuees, officials said.
#CycloneAmphan Updates 20/5/20-— ??t?? pr?dh?n???? ?????? ?????? ??????????-DG NDRF (@satyaprad1) May 20, 2020
???????????? ????@NDRFHQ @ Road Clearance Work in Haridaspur,Kakatpur, Dist PURI , Odisha#NDRF4U#Committed2Serve #LetsFaceAmphanTogether @NDRFHQ @ndmaindia @PMOIndia @HMOIndia @PIBHomeAffairs @BhallaAjay26 @DDNewslive @ANI @airnewsalerts pic.twitter.com/8sp65X6dW6