Cyclone Amphan, which made a landfall near Sundarban on Wednesday afternoon, left at least 12 people dead in East Midnapore and Nadia before losing steam and veering off towards Bangladesh as a deep depression.
The cyclone with wind speed of up to 185 km/hour left a trail of destruction with the homes and crops damaged in the East Midnapore, West Midnapore and Nadia, affecting around ten lakh people living in these three districts.
The cyclone initially predicted to pass through Digha first, but it moved through Haldia, Nandigram and Contai with wind speed from 165 to 185 km/hour leaving extensive damage in these areas in East Midnapore.
According to officials, at least six persons died in East Midnapore – most of them either electrocuted or killed by trees uprooted by winds that gusted up to 185 km per hour (115 mph). Mass evacuations organised by authorities before cyclone Amphan made landfall undoubtedly saved countless lives, but the full extent of the casualties and damage to property would only be known once communications were restored, officials said.
The storm ravaged the industrial infrastructure in the port town of Haldia, officials confirming that the chimneys and towers of many industries had been permanently damaged. The premises of many industries have also been inundated by rain water forcing the authorities to shut down machines.
Hundreds of electricity poles and lines collapsed in strong winds in Haldia alone. This apart, several vehicles parked inside the premises or beside the lanes approaching industries had been severely damaged.
Sources in the NDRF said rescue personnel had reached Haldia and were clearing uprooted trees off the highways. Digha, in true sense, did not report major damage. Officials said Jelingham in Nandigram and Sankarpur were severely affected too.
A woman was crushed to death in Jelingham when the wall of her mud home collapsed, they added. Apart from industrial town Haldia, the cyclone caused extensive damage in rural areas of Haldia, Nandigram, Tamluk, Ramnagar-I and II, Khejuri-I and II, Deshapran and Contai-I and II blocks. Nearly one lakh mud houses were either fully damaged or partially damaged due to the impact of the storm.
This apart, hundreds of hectares of agricultural lands where aman crops were full grown across the district were flattened due to the impact of the severe storm. Betel vines and flower and vegetable cultivation were severely affected across the district.
In West Midnapore, more than 10,000 houses have been damaged and hundreds of trees and electric poles were uprooted.
Though there is no report of casualties, the worst hit areas have been detected as Dantan, Pingla and Sabang, an administrative official said.
According to officials, six persons died as the extremely severe cyclonic storm lashed the district.