Cyclone Amphan
Cyclone Amphan
Photo by ANI

West Bengal faces the challenge of the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan which killed 72 people on Wednesday, with 15 being reported from Kolkata itself. A compensation of Rs 2.5 lakhs has been announced for the families of those who died. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has appealed to people not to venture out of the relief camps arranged by the state while evacuating people ahead of the cyclone in coastal and surrounding areas. The state is also reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic which is another concern with social distancing norms. Close to 5 lakh people were evacuated which saved several lives, said Mamata.

“Our situation is such that I am unable to connect with the district magistrates today as there is no network,” said Mamata Banerjee.

“Even our state secretariat was shaking yesterday and the window panes are broken. I thought the building would collapse,” added Mamata who has said that she will ask the Prime Minister to visit the affected areas.

“I have told the Union Home Minister that I have never seen this kind of disaster. We require help. For COVID also, we got no help,” explained the Chief Minister hoping that the Centre lends a helping hand.

Many areas are reeling under power cuts, with several trees being uprooted in almost every lane of the city, blocking entrances to houses along with reports of wall collapses and fallen electric cables posing a threat of electrocution. A portion of the Air India hanger at the Kolkata airport was flooded while signages were destroyed. However flights for evacuating passengers in awake of the COVID-19 pandemic were operational.

Civic authorities are trying to reach different areas to clear the roads while reaching districts will be a challenge. The worst affected districts are South and North 24 Parganas with 18 deaths and 17 deaths reported respectively.

The lockdown has made it more challenging for people to seek for help and reach different parts of the city, while the state administration too faces a double challenge of handling the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen close to 3000 cases and over hundred deaths.

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