Shaken by Cyclone Amphan, flat owners in this Kolkata building summon engineers
When Cyclone Amphan was battering Kolkata with wind speeds up to 130 km per hour, residents of Subham-Subhasree apartments in east Kolkata’s Hussainpur – Madurdaha had the feeling that their apartment buildings were almost swaying.
“I almost jumped out of my bed and was about to rush outside. That’s the first thing that comes to your mind when an earthquake shakes the building. But moments later, I realised that it was not an earthquake but the cyclone which was making the building sway and that I couldn’t go out. I was scared,” Suchismita Biswas, a resident of Subham apartments said.
Not only did the building sway during the cyclone but chunks of concrete which had cracked and become loose have also fallen off. The flat owners are now planning to consult a structural engineer for a thorough checkup of the two buildings.
“I heard at least two thuds. When the storm stopped and some of us went out to inspect the buildings, we saw that at least two chunks of concrete had fallen off, exposing bricks. A proposal has come up to consult a structural engineer and go for a thorough checkup of the building,” said Biswas.
The society comprising two buildings was handed over to the owners in 2015. Apart from the structural damage the cyclone may have caused, there was other damage too.
“There was a large tree, very tall, in front of our complex. During the cyclone, a large branch broke off and fell on our gate, damaging the lights at the entrance. A few other branches of some trees located on another plot behind our building also broke off, damaging the wire fencing,” T Samui, another resident said.
With the winds coming mainly from the north-eastern and northern directions, the eight flats facing north had to bear the direct brunt of the cyclonic storm. The other eight which face south, were less harmed.
One of the sliding window panes of a bedroom in one of the north-facing flats could not take the pressure and came off. Water started gushing in and soon the entire bedroom was filled with ankle-deep water.
“We held on to it tightly but water was still gushing in through the sides. The entire bed got drenched. We had to pull down curtains to soak the ankle-deep water and then squeeze it out in the washroom. This had to be done multiple times and our hands were aching. We could hardly sleep that night,” S Ghosh, another resident said.
A power outage since Wednesday added to the residents’ woes. The entire area had plunged into darkness after a high tension wire snapped during Cyclone Amphan.
“The two buildings are running on generators. We have lodged a complaint with the CESC which supplies power, but no help has arrived till Friday. We don’t know for how long the generator can continue to provide power. It has already started to malfunction,” Samui said.