A powerful cyclone in over a decade slams into India, Bangladesh
millions of people were evacuated from India and neighbouring Bangladesh
A powerful cyclone barrelled into eastern India on Wednesday with heavy rain, wind and waves as millions of people were evacuated from there and neighbouring Bangladesh in an operation complicated by the campaign against the novel coronavirus.
Cyclone Amphan had begun moving inland, the India Meteorological Department said in a bulletin at 3 p.m. (0930 GMT), after brewing for days in the Bay of Bengal to become one of the strongest storms to hit the region in about a decade.
Officials in India’s Odisha and West Bengal states said powerful winds had torn off roofs, uprooted trees and bent electricity poles, hitting power supplies in some areas.
In Bangladesh, junior minister for disaster management Enamur Rahman said about 2.4 million people in the most vulnerable districts had been shifted to more than 15,000 storm shelters.
“It has been challenging to evacuate people while maintaining distancing. We have doubled the number of the cyclone centres to ensure safe distancing and hygiene,” Rahman said.
Bangladeshi officials also said they had moved hundreds of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, living on a flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal, to storm shelters.
Standing crops could be damaged and large tracts of fertile land washed away, officials said. Farmers were being helped to move produce and hundreds of thousands of farm animals to higher ground.