Cyclone toll rises to 45; rescue operations begin in West Bengal
The death toll due to Monday's havoc caused by cyclone 'Aila' in West Bengal rose to 45 today.
The highest number of 20 deaths occurred in South 24 Parganas district followed by eight in North 24 Parganas, six each in Kolkata and Howrah, three in Birbhum and one each in Bankura and Malda, official sources said.
Two columns of army, one each in Sandeshkhali and Kultali of North and South 24 Parganas districts respectively, were carrying out rescue and relief operations, defence spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani told PTI. Six more army columns were on standby, he said.
Two MI-17 helicopters were air-dropping food packets in the two worst hit areas in the two districts, he said. The army would also take up operations in Hingalganj in North 24 Parganas and Gosaba, Patharpratima and Sagardwip areas in South 24 Parganas.
Railway minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to visit Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on Tuesday.
The cyclone and its after effects were over, Regional Meteorological Centre Director G C Debnath said. However, there was a possibility of rain, he said.