May 22, 2020
Millions of people across Bangladesh and eastern India are taking stock of the devastation left by Cyclone Amphan.
A massive clean-up operation has begun after the storm left 84 dead and flattened homes, uprooted trees and left cities without power.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in West Bengal state to conduct an aerial survey.
Authorities in both countries had evacuated millions of people before the storm struck.
Covid-19 and social-distancing measures made mass evacuations more difficult, with shelters unable to be used to full capacity.
Officials also said people were afraid and reluctant to move to shelters for fear of contracting the virus.
The cyclone arrived with winds gusting up to 185km/h (115mph) and waves as high as 15ft.
Many people have been injured in wall collapses in Bengal
It is the first super cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999. Though its winds had weakened by the time it struck, it was still classified as a very severe cyclone.
Three districts in India’s West Bengal – South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore – were very badly hit.
In Bangladesh, there are reports of tens of thousands of homes damaged or destroyed and many villages submerged by storm surges in low-lying coastal areas like Khulna and Satkhira.
The affected areas include the Sunderbans, mangroves spread over an area of more than 10,000 square kilometres that spans both India and Bangladesh – the swampy islands are home to more than four million of the world’s poorest People.