The monster depression that is wreaking havoc in Andhra Pradesh took a toll 1,200 km away in West Bengal – strong winds and torrential rain sent large buildings crashing, uprooted trees, flooded road and rail tracks and paralysed life. And there is no hope of respite in the next 24 hours.
While Diamond Harbour in the South 24 Parganas district received the highest rainfall -- 213 mm – Kolkatans fared much worse with the comparatively low 109 mm.
The rain had started on Thursday night and Friday began with two deaths. In Kolkata’s Burrabazar area, part of a four-storey building collapsed at dawn, killing its caretaker and his young son. Buildings collapsed elsewhere too, though the results were not fatal.
By mid-morning, huge stretches of the city was flooded. And when finally Nabanna, the new seat of the government, was knee-deep in water, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is currently on a tour of north Bengal, was forced to take notice. A control room was set up at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation to monitor the situation and relief measures were undertaken.
“The earliest one can hope to see the sun is Monday,” said Alipore met office director G C Debnath. The worst-hit areas would include Kolkata and the districts of South 24 Parganas, Howrah, East Midnapore, Bankura and Birbhum.
The chief minister, though, is expected to escape lightly. North Bengal would receive light to moderate rainfall, Debnath added.