At least 106 people died in India and Bangladesh during Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful to form in the Bay of Bengal in the 21st century, according to new official reports Friday, May 22.
Despite the considerable damage caused by the cyclone on Wednesday in the two countries of South Asia, the loss of human lives was largely contained. Until recently, the most violent cyclones sometimes claimed thousands of lives in this region of the world.
In the Indian region of West Bengal (east), Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reported 80 dead. Health authorities in Bangladesh have registered 26 deaths. The previous provisional assessment of the cyclone was, Thursday evening, 95 dead in total. Wind gusts, torrential rains and the sudden surge caused by the cyclone devastated Bengal's coastal areas, flooding towns and villages, damaging tens of thousands of homes, cutting down trees and utility poles.
The storm surge has destroyed many shrimp farms in Bangladesh, worsening the economic situation of residents already brought to their knees by the containment decreed against the coronavirus pandemic. The intrusion of sea salt water on dry land "expected to have a severe impact on livelihoods for the next 2-3 years", Warned the United Nations.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew over the disaster areas by helicopter on Friday and announced the allocation of around 120 million euros for the reconstruction of the region. "The whole country is today at the side of West Bengal at this critical moment and we will rebuild together the areas ruined by the cyclone"Said Narendra Modi. The European Union also announced initial aid of 500,000 euros to India and 1.1 million euros to Bangladesh.
In Calcutta, the storm blew a weather vane atop a 205-year-old church that had weathered countless cyclones in the past. "It was as old as the church"Deplored Father Swarup Bar to hooly News. "We have so far only managed to find small pieces of one of the wings of the rooster."
In the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, straddling India and Bangladesh and listed as World Heritage of Humanity, the destruction has proven to be less significant than initially feared. "Overall, the damage is not so greatAmir Hossain Chowdhury, head of the Bangladesh Forest Service, told hooly News.
Bangladesh is going to pump vital water points for the Sundarbans' fauna in order to withdraw seawater brought by the storm surge, lower than what meteorologists feared. "This is only a temporary setback for the forest fauna, including the Bengal tigers, monkeys, axis deer and others"Said Mr. Chowdhury.