Cyclone Amphan wreaks havoc on 4.5 million people across Odisha; 72 dead in West Bengal
Cyclone Amphan, which hit India’s eastern coast with winds gusting up to 185 kph on Wednesday, has affected 4.5 million people across 1,500 villages in Odisha, the state government informed the Centre on Thursday even as it has asked officials to submit reports about the damages caused in two days.
Odisha chief secretary Asit Tripathy told Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba via video-conferencing that there was no loss of lives in the state even as the cyclone brought a heavy downpour and winds speeding up to 100 kph in some coastal areas.
Amphan was the most powerful cyclone to strike eastern India and Bangladesh in over a decade. It tore down power lines, uprooted trees, caused flooding, triggered mass evacuations and left at least 72 people dead in West Bengal, where it made landfall.
“Nearly two lakh [200,000] people in Odisha were evacuated from their homes and placed safely in different shelters during the cyclone. A total of 210 medical teams and 75 teams of veterinary doctors have been sent to the affected areas,” Tripathy said. He added that collectors of the affected districts have been asked to submit reports about the damages caused in two days.
Tripathy thanked India Meteorological Department (IMD) director-general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra for accurate predictions and added correct forecast of the natural calamity helped contain the damage to life and property. “The IMD is valuable in this area and its forecast is getting better with time. We thank Mohapatra, NDRF [ National Disaster Response Force] DG [director general] S N Pradhan and everyone in this valuable national body,” he said.
Additional chief secretary and special relief commissioner P K Jena, too, thanked Mohapatra for re-assuring the state government to have complete faith in IMD’s prediction and forecast on Amphan.
IMD had informed the state government that the wind speeds at Paradip and Dhamara coast would be around 135 kph which turned out to be correct. Jena said that Mohapatra had made accurate predictions on ferocious cyclonic storms like Fani (2019) and Phailin (2013).
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik separately conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas of the state’s coastal and adjoining districts that took the brunt of Amphan.
Winds gusting up to 100 kph uprooted trees, flattening kutcha houses, disrupted vehicular movement and power supply across Odisha’s Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Balasore districts.
Odisha energy minister Dibya Shankar Mishra said that over 80% of power supply was being restored while Pradhan said all roads in the cyclone-hit districts would be cleared within 24-48 hours.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said authorities were working on the ground to ensure all possible assistance to the cyclone-hit people. “My thoughts are with the people of Odisha as the state bravely battles the effects of Cyclone Amphan. Authorities are working on the ground to ensure all possible assistance to the those affected. I pray that the situation normalises at the earliest,” Modi tweeted.