Cyclone Amphan’s Six Hours of Rain and Fury Has Caused Utter “Sarbanash”


Cyclone Amphan’s Six Hours of Rain and Fury Has Caused Utter “Sarbanash”

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

There’s few things worse to face during an ongoing pandemic than a “super cyclone”, but that’s exactly what 2020 had in store for the eastern states of our country.

Cyclone Amphan made its impact on the subcontinent on Wednesday, devastating large parts of West Bengal and Odisha, as well as wreaking havoc in neighbouring Bangladesh, killing 15 people. Lakhs were evacuated in the days leading up to the storm but the damage done was catastrophic. “Sarbanash hoye galo,” said Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, saying the impact of Amphan is “worse than coronavirus”. She also used the word tandav to describe the damage caused by Amphan, the most fiercest cyclone to hit the state in decades.

Hours after landfall, on Wednesday evening, Kolkata went dark, and all roads were closed to brace for impact. As reported by several social media users, nearly all connections to the outside world from the city were temporarily halted.

Several areas experienced flooding and phone and internet services were severed.

Author Amitav Ghosh, who managed to speak to his family over a landline, tweeted about the terror he heard in their voices.

Visuals from Bengal’s capital show electricity lines sparking and catching fire, raising concern about those who aren’t fortunate to have shelter at a time like this…

Videos from Thursday morning show giant trees uprooted by the winds — which in some cases exceeded 200km/hr. The streets were completely submerged.

According to The Indian Express, airport hangars in Kolkata gave way, as water flooded the runway. An Air India hangar was left looking not very different from the average river.

The wind was so strong that parked vehicles bumped into each other and shattered windows, according to an NDTV report.

Later, an NDRF officer, SN Pradhan, was quoted as saying that most of the damage was registered in the state of West Bengal, where the super cyclone made its landfall. “Damage in Odisha is much less. We are still surveying the affected areas,” he added.

Deafening winds, and shocking videos, were also recorded in Bangladesh.

Earlier, NASA tweeted a satellite image of the massive cyclone, which has ended up destroying thousands of homes, during strict stay-at-home orders over Covid-19.

By Thursday morning, the storm began to weaken, and is now categorised as a “depression”. All eyes will now be focused on how the disaster response teams move to provide relief and rehabilitate the destroyed structures.