Cyclone Amphan puts 19 million children at risk: UNICEF
PIC: AFP

At least 19 million children in parts of Bangladesh and India are at "imminent risk" from flash flooding and heavy rain as Cyclone Amphan makes landfall and the state of West Bengal is expected to take a direct hit from the powerful storm, the UN's children agency has warned.

The extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan made a landfall at Digha in West Bengal and Bangladesh on Wednesday, leaving a trail of destruction. At least three persons were killed in India and seven in Bangladesh.

The UNICEF said that at least 19 million children in parts of Bangladesh and India are at "imminent risk from flash flooding, storm surges and heavy rain as Cyclone Amphan makes landfall." West Bengal, "home to more than 50 million people, including over 16 million children, is expected to take a direct hit from the powerful storm," the UN agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

The UNICEF said it is also very concerned that the COVID-19 could deepen the humanitarian consequences of Cyclone Amphan in both the countries. Evacuees who have moved to crowded temporary shelters would be especially vulnerable to the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19, as well as other infections.

"We continue to monitor the situation closely," said UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Jean Gough.

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