Cyclone Aila kills 31 in Bengal, Army helps with rescue

Updated on May 26, 2009 12:52 AM IST

It was a devastation not seen in recent memory. Christened Aila, the cyclone blew over large parts of South 24-Parganas, kissed Kolkata at over 120 km per hour and moved away towards Howrah and Hooghly. Though the worst is over, heavy rains and winds will continue to lash Kolkata and its neighbouring areas for the next 24 hours, reports HT Bureau.Path of Aila

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Hindustan Times | ByHT Bureau, Kolkata

It was a devastation not seen in recent memory.

What started as a small trough of depression in the Bay of Bengal on Saturday, moved rapidly towards coastal West Bengal, gathered guile and made landfall near the Sagar Islands at around 2 pm on Monday.

Christened Aila, the cyclone blew over large parts of South 24-Parganas, kissed Kolkata at over 120 km per hour and moved away towards Howrah and Hooghly.

At least 31 people have fallen victim to the fury of Aila, most of them from South 24-Parganas.

In Kolkata, seven people died as vehicles were crushed under uprooted trees. Deaths were also reported from Howrah, Hooghly, North 24-Parganas and Bankura.

The Met department in Alipore, which has been monitoring the cyclone, said Aila was moving towards Burdwan but thankfully losing its power.

Though the worst is over, heavy rains and winds will continue to lash Kolkata and its neighbouring areas for the next 24 hours.

At least 2 lakh people have been rendered homeless in South 24-Parganas and the army has been called out to reach inaccessible areas. By Monday afternoon, over 50,000 people were rescued.

“The problem was Aila picked up a lot of moisture as it moved over the Bay and Bengal. This accounts for its fury,” Alipore Met office director G.C. Debnath told HT.

Kolkata Municipal Corporation officials said at least 6,000 trees were uprooted across the city. Dum Dum Airport shut all services after noon and over 44 flights were either diverted or cancelled.

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