At least two persons were killed, 50 injured and more than 6,000 houses damaged when a cyclone devastated five blocks of Malda district in north Bengal early on Saturday morning. The storm also severely affected mango, litchi orchards and food grain in the field.
Malda is famous for mangoes and litchis.
The cyclone also uprooted electric poles and till afternoon there was no electricity in large parts of the district. The district administration started distribution of relief goods in the affected blocks.
According to the locals, the cyclone struck around 3 am and wrought havoc within 15-20 minutes. The affected areas were Chanchol-II, Ratua-II, Bamongola, Habibpur, Gazole. A portion of Old Malda block was also damaged.
Those killed were identified as Manirul Islam (10) and Muklesur Rahaman (60), both residents of Chanchol-II block. Both were killed when walls collapsed on them.
A teacher of Bamongola block, Foroz Malahar, lost his hand from the wrist when a sharp corrugated tin sheet flew like a missile and sliced it off.
The Trinamool Congress MLA of Gazole, Dipali Biswas said-“There are 15 gram panchayats in my assembly constituency area. The cyclone has ruined most of the houses in five gram panchayat areas. I can’t recall any similar incident of cyclone in Malda.”
During the day four were brought to Malda Medical College and Hospital for treatment. Others who were injured were treated at different rural and block primary health centers.
A senior officer of Malda agriculture department said, “The paddy, mango and litchi cultivation in Malda were badly damaged. We are trying to assess the loss.
“There was prediction of rain in Malda on Saturday and Sunday, but we didn’t have any cyclone forecast. Ratua-II, Gazole and Bamongola block have sustained most of the damage. We have already distributed tarpaulin and some food items among the victim families. We are going to propose compensation to the deceased’s family,” said district magistrate Tanmoy Chakraborty.