This article originally appeared on VICE India.
Even as India and its neighbouring countries deal with a surge in coronavirus cases, Cyclone Amphan—categorised as an extreme super cyclone—hit West Bengal and Bangladesh on May 20. With an eye that was 30 kms in diameter, wind gusts faster than 185 km/h and waves that were 15 feet tall, Amphan, the most ferocious storm to hit the Bay of Bengal this century, has wreaked devastating havoc in urban areas as well as rural pockets in east India and Bangladesh. After a terrifying night of torrential downpour, lashing winds, toppling trees, power cuts and storm surges that flooded even urban streets with ocean water, areas including the Sunderbans, Kolkata and Odisha woke up today to relatively calm weather but a chaotic aftermath.
Over five lakh people were evacuated and placed in shelters in Bangladesh, while Odisha evacuated about one lakh citizens. Despite taking heavy precautions, at least two deaths have been confirmed in Odisha so far. In Bangladesh, six have been reported dead, including a five-year-old boy, a 75-year-old man and a cyclone rescue volunteer who drowned as storm surges inundated the farmlands. At least 10 to 12 people have been reported dead in Kolkata, and chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said the damages caused by the flooding rains, uprooted trees and exploded electricity transformers will lead to a loss of Rs 1 lakh crore. She even added that the impact of Amphan was far worse than that of coronavirus, which currently has more than 3,000 confirmed cases in West Bengal. The Telegraph said that “Calcutta's waterlogged roads looked like a dark and slithering reptile on Wednesday night as howling winds continued to haunt the city's deserted, Amphan-ravaged corridors.”
But even as the storm appears to be subsiding and will turn into a tropical depression as it moves towards north and northeast India, these photos show just how devastating an impact the natural disaster has left behind.
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