The cyclone Amphan which pummelled the coastal districts of West Bengal killed at least four and injured several leaving a trail of devastation in the state and its capital today.
The city which was already crippled by the outbreak of coronavirus, received a major blow when the super cyclone hit land crossing West Bengal between Digha and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh across Sunderbans between 3.30p.m. an 5.30 p.m. today with a wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.
The cyclone, according to the met department, made landfall over North-West Bay of Bengal which was about 35 Km South of Sagar Island and 65km South-East of Digha. By 4: 30 p.m., the cyclone came within 15km of Sagar Island.
Memories of the cyclone Ailathat had claimed more than 90 lives across the state in the year 2009, came back to haunt Kolkata denizens when at 5.30 p.m. heavy rainfall of 48.7 mm coupled with wind speeds up to around 112 km raged over the city for hours uprooting numerous trees, lamp posts, blocking roads, blowing roof of make-shift stalls or houses and even claiming four lives in the state.
A 13 year old girl in Howrah was killed after a tin shed came crashing on top of her. In Minakhan of North 24-Parganas, a woman lost her life when a tree fell on her. In Tamluk of East Midnapore, another woman was injured after a wall collapsed.
In East Burdwan another woman died after being electrocuted and three other were injured on coming under a banyan tree. State Transport minister, Suvendu Adhikari monitored the ground situation while WBTC control room was set up to keep a track of the nine ghats in Kolkata area, and four in Sagar.
The severe cyclonic storm, which brought in its wake heavy rain coupled with gale winds, uprooted hundreds of trees and snapped cables in the city and its adjoining areas in North and South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore, bringing life to a nearhalt.
The jetties at Howrah, Kochuberia and Namkhana were damaged as the super cyclone pounded large parts of West Bengal for over four hours continuously. River embankments were damaged at least three places in South 24-Parganas and one place at Sundarbans.
Trees began to get uprooted at various corners of the city as early as 8.30 a.m. in the morning and by 3.15 p.m. huge trunks fell at around 27 places. Similarly lamp posts blocked roads and damaged traffic signals at Gariahat crossing and Wellington crossing.
At College Street and New market, shades were blown off under the impact of the wind that touched a speed of 130kmph at 6.47 p.m. in Dum Dum and 114kmph in Kolkata. The city was plunged in darkness due to power disruptions at several places, including E.M Bypass, Chandni while a power block was ordered by the authorities in South 24-Parganas, North 24- Parganas and East Midnapore.
At Tangra people came running out of their homes amid the cyclone as numerous trees came crashing on their homes. In yet another part of Tangra, sparks were seen in electric wires near a residential building triggering panic among residents. In Howrah, alone, around 900 houses were said to be damaged by 6pm.
In Paschim Putiari, portion of a wall of an old dilapidated building collapsed in ward 115. Team of the building department of Kolkata Municipal Corporation removed the debris and residents were evacuated and shifted to safer places.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was extremely shocked by such a ‘big disaster’ as the administration did not expect the cyclone to so intense with 90 per cent of South Bengal being ravaged.