Cyclone Amphan: In The Aftermath Of The Storms, UN Predicts Over 500,000 People Stranded Across India And Bangladesh
“UN humanitarians and partners are working hard to assist the people of Bangladesh and India suffering from the impact of Cyclone Amphan, which made landfall on Wednesday, wreaking havoc, causing high tidal surges, flooding and embankments to collapse”.
The above statement was made by the United Nations (UN) on Thursday, commenting on the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan.
Cyclone Amphan is the first tropical cyclone of the 2020 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, originating from a low-pressure area persisting a couple hundred miles east of Colombo, Sri Lanka on 13 May 2020.
Cyclone Amphan has caused widespread damage over East India and Bangladesh in the past few days, being the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the Ganges Delta since Cyclone Sidr of the 2007 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, and also having the distinction of being the first super cyclonic storm to occur in the Bay of Bengal since the 1999 Odisha cyclone.
UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters during a regular virtual briefing on Thursday, from New York that the impact of the Cyclone has displaced over 500,000 people across India and Bangladesh.
“It is believed that around 10 million people in Bangladesh are impacted by the cyclone, with half a million families potentially having lost their homes”.
“Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the storm has damaged houses and crops in Bangladesh”, he continued. “Power has been cut off to cities and towns, many of which are working to contain the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Dujarric noted that while the cyclone has downgraded to a tropical depression, “it is still expected to bring heavy to moderate rain over the next 24 hours”.
According to the UN, the Bangladeshi Government has been able to evacuate nearly two million people to more than 12,000 cyclone shelters that are supplied with, among other things, masks and sanitizers, to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The cyclone, which lashed coastal areas with brutal winds and rain, left at least 84 people across India and Bangladesh dead, according to news reports.
According to the UN, Cyclone Amphan caused widespread damage around Calcutta, and is now considered even more destructive than Cyclone Aila, which hit the region in May 2009.
Seven districts in India were badly affected, namely South 24 Paraganas, North 24 Paraganas, East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata, with damages also reported in the district of Birbhum.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said it is closely monitoring the situation with state departments, and expressed concern that the COVID-19 could deepen the cyclone’s humanitarian consequences in both the countries.
“Humanitarian partners are on standby to ensure access to information, temporary shelter, food, safe drinking water and other vital services for affected refugees according to need”, the UN website stated on Thursday.