NAfter the big hurricane “Amphan” with more than 80 deaths, the first clean-up work started in India and Bangladesh. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to see the damage from the air on Friday, according to local media. Some people have now left the emergency shelters to rebuild some of their homes. Thousands of houses were razed to the ground. There is still no electricity in some areas.
The head of government of the particularly affected northeastern state of West Bengal said that the natural disaster will hit their area harder than the corona pandemic, and it may take several days to assess the full extent of the damage.
One of the strongest storms in 20 years
According to the Indian Meteorological Service, the storm was one of the strongest in the past 20 years. He hit land on Wednesday afternoon at 185 km / h. In the city of Calcutta, which has a population of 15 million, the airport was flooded, electricity and telecommunications in parts of the metropolis in northeastern India failed. A region that is one of the last large habitats of wild and endangered Bengal tigers is also affected.
In India and Bangladesh, more than three million people were taken to shelters before the storm hit. The two countries have a lot of experience with severe hurricanes that occur repeatedly in the Gulf of Bengal. Nearly 10,000 people died in a large cyclone in 1999. Experts believe that the intensity of the storms has tended to increase in recent years, partly due to climate change. However, the number of victims has generally been lower in recent years, since the two countries have now built good emergency shelters and drawn up evacuation plans.
Fear of coronavirus
However, some people did not want to go to the emergency shelters, authorities and aid organizations said. Some would have been afraid to leave their belongings behind, others to be infected with the corona virus in the emergency shelters.
Authorities from both countries said they had provided more emergency shelters to keep the distance. Empty schools would be used. Masks and disinfectants were distributed in the accommodations. But television pictures also showed that the necessary distance was not always maintained.
The two countries are still struggling with a significantly increasing number of corona infections – despite weeks of curfew. India recently reported more than 100,000 known infections, overtaking China. More than 3,400 people in India died from Covid-19 lung disease. In both countries, many people do not have access to good medical care.