At least 22 people died as cyclone Amphan hit parts of Bangladesh and eastern India, the cyclone sent trees flying and flattened houses, with millions crammed into shelters despite the risk of coronavirus.
Millions were left without power after Cyclone Amphan, packing winds of around 150 kilometres per hour, carried away electricity pylons, walls and roofs, officials said Thursday as they began to assess the damage.
“The impact of Amphan is worse than coronavirus,” Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal, told local media, saying that at least 12 people had died in the state.
“Thousands of mud huts have been levelled, trees uprooted, roads washed away, and crops destroyed,” she said.
Officials said they were waiting for reports from the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage site famed for its mangrove forest and population of endangered Bengal tigers, which bore the brunt of the storm.
Cyclones are an annual and growing hazard along the Bay of Bengal coast, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in recent decades.
But in recent years, despite an increase in their frequency blamed partly on climate change, improved warning systems have enabled authorities to be much better prepared.
Amphan was the first “super cyclone” to form over the Bay of Bengal since 1999, and packed winds gusting up to 185 kph at sea.