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AFTERMATH OF SUPER CYCLONE AMPHAN: KOLKATA CHAPTER

May 21, 2020, the day which appeared from the darkness, the day after the rage of nature, the day after a super cyclone land fell and passed through, unfolded amid usual waves of calm and cool breeze in Kolkata. However, residents dilated their eye pupils in incredulity and in dismay while they looked through neighborhood. Trails of super cyclone Amphan which raged on the city of Kolkata are everywhere.
Uprooted trees and remains of super cyclone Amphan
Trees uprooted, houses damaged, electric wires snapped, electric poles broke, walls collapsed and many more destruction when the super cyclone battered the city last evening.
City of Joy submerged into cloud (Atmosphere Tower) at 1: 15 pm, May 20
The super cyclone, later downgraded to ‘severely critical cyclone’ after its wind gusting speed was reduced below 220Kmph during its course in Bay of Bengal, hit the seven districts of west Bengal. A cyclone with a wind speed 180 Kmph to 220Km/H is categorized as severely critical cyclone and with wind speed above 220Kmph as super cyclone. Amphan was a super cyclone at the beginning of its course in Bay of Bengal and later downgraded to severely critical category. Amphan has undergone deviation from its originally calculated path and timeline. It was initially expected to landfall on coastline of West Bengal on May 15. During the last twenty four hour, Amphan changed its path, and instead of land fall on Odisha coast, it land fell on Digha coast in West Bengal and Hatia Island in Bangladesh. Though the landfall of Amphan, according to forecast, was between 4 pm to 6 pm on May 20, but Amphan reached the coast of Digha at around 2.30 pm, one and half hours early.
Iconic ITC Royal and JW Marriott under black cloud at 1: 15 pm, May 20
(While news channels were busy predicting time of landfall and path of super cyclone, Amphan hit the city of joy at around 1:15 pm on D – day, May 20 before scheduled time.  Immediately, the city was covered with low flying thick black cloud with abnormally high velocity wind. Light showering and lightening also struck the city simultaneously. People were seen rushing for home and safer place.)
Government of West Bengal carried out measures to mitigate the devastating impacts of Amphan. Relocation of massive settlers at coastal and low laying areas in seven districts of West Bengal carried out. Height of embankments between settlements and coastlines was raised to stop inundation from high tides created by the cyclone. It was predicted that height of tides would be between 4 – 6 mtr.  Approx. 3.5 lakhs people were relocated to safer places.   National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) has deployed 21 teams of NDRF in West Bengal. According to Mr Satya Pradhan, DG, NDRF, adequate preventive and rescue measures were in placed both in Odisha and West Bengal and closed coordination between NDRF and state administrations established. 

According to latest report on Times of India, cyclone Amphan has left atleast 72 people dead and devastations of infrastructures in West Bengal. The cyclone also has caused major damaged on crops. According to state government and NDRF, the state will take atleast 24 to 48 hr to back to normalcy. Various villages are still left without the power supply since the outbreak of Amphan.

Glimpse of aftermath of Amphan in Kolkata:
ITC Royal and JW Marriott covered with black cloud at 2:15 pm, May 20 as the cyclone landed in Kolkata

Trail of Ampham: Uprooted trees blocked VIP Road at Chingrihata Junction in Kolkata

(Morning office goers faced road blocks in the city while rushing for works. Various arteries are blocked due fallen uprooted trees and debris left behind by Ampham on road. Traffic lights nonfunctional further augmented the worry of everyone including policemen at traffic junction. Municipality officials responded and attended the woes people promptly.)

Trails of cyclone on the street of Kolkata

View of Jadavpur University (second campus) after the cyclone
While battle with COVID 19 is still on, the nature opened second front in battle against the state of West Bengal. Synergy of all resources and efforts shown during Amphan is paramount to succeed any challenges in future. 

-NP SINGH
AMITY UNIVERSITY KOLKATA  
(Photos by NP SINGH)

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