At least 72 people have died in West Bengal due to Cyclone Amphan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the affected districts and provide help to "rebuild those areas from scratch".
The chief minister also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for the family members of each of the deceased.
"So far as per the reports we have received, 72 people have died in the state due to Cyclone Amphan. Two districts North and South 24 Parganas are completely devastated. We have to rebuild those districts from scratch. I would urge the Central government to extend all help to the state," Banerjee said after conducting a review meeting with officials.
"I will visit the affected areas very soon. The restoration work will start soon. A large part of North and South 24 Parganas and Kolkata are facing massive power cut since last evening. Even telephone and mobile connections are down," she said.
"I have never witnessed such a fierce cyclone and destruction in my life. I would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and visit Cyclone Amphan-affected areas," Banerjee said.
4 NDRF teams to be sent to Kolkata
Four additional teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are being airlifted to Kolkata on the request of the West Bengal government and will reach the city by late evening on Indian Air Force aircraft, the chief of the force, S N Pradhan, said on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference here, Pradhan said two teams each from Chennai and Pune are being airlifted to Kolkata in view of the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan and they will be at the disposal of the West Bengal government.
He said the teams were scheduled to depart at 4.30 pm and arrive at Kolkata at around 8.30 pm.
Pradhan said according to the feedback received from the states that have been battered by Cyclone Amphan, it seems life will start returning to normal in the impact zones of Odisha within 24-48 hours, while West Bengal has suffered more damage.
The extent of the damage done by the extremely severe cyclonic storm will become clearer after surveys in the coming days, he added.
NDRF teams are working in the cyclone affected parts. Top officials are closely monitoring the situation and also working in close coordination with the West Bengal government.â€” Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 21, 2020
No stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.
Amphan has weakened: IMD
The India Meteorological Department said on Thursday that 'Amphan' has weakened significantly and moved over to Bangladesh as a cyclonic storm after clobbering West Bengal, leaving at least 12 dead and blowing up shanties, uprooting thousands of trees and swamping low-lying areas.
It will further dissipate into a deep depression and a depression, the two stages that signify a further weakening of the cyclone, it said.
The IMD said under the influence of the storm, squalls with wind speed 30 to 40 kilometres per hour are very likely in Meghalaya and west Assam during the next 12 hours.
The western districts of Assam and Meghalaya will also witness "light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places", it added.
According to the weatherman, Amphan was the fiercest cyclone to hit West Bengal in the last 100 years.
The extremely severe cyclone packing winds of up to 190 kmph rampaged through coastal Odisha and West Bengal on Wednesday, dumping heavy rain, swamping homes and farmland.
Kolkata and several other parts of West Bengal wore a battered look on Thursday after the extremely severe cyclone 'Amphan' ripped through the state.
Large parts of Kolkata and other affected districts were without electricity as power poles had been blown away. Mobile and internet services were also down as the cyclone had damaged several communication towers.