#UNHumanitarianAid; #CycloneAmphan; #Bangladesh; #India; #Covid19Pandemic
Geneva, May 21 (Canadian-Media): 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, UN reports said.
Cyclone Amphan made landfall in eastern India on Wednesday afternoon local time.
Image credit: WB State Inter Agency Group on Disaster Management.
“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”, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters during a regular virtual briefing on Thursday, from New York.
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.
“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”.
Noting that while the cyclone had been downgraded to a tropical depression, he asserted that “it is still expected to bring heavy to moderate rain over the next 24 hours”.
The Bangladesh Government has already evacuated 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.
Refugees sheltering in BangladeshThe Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh flagged that preliminary reports indicate that damage is minimal in Cox’s Bazar - home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar - with some 300 shelters damaged, approximately 60 of which were fully destroyed.
Flooding and small landsides have been reported in several refugee camps, as well as blocked drains and damaged stairs, latrines, and bridges – but no word of casualties or deaths.
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.
Damage in India Meanwhile, the UN Country Team in India reported that Cyclone Amphan, which caused widespread damage around Calcutta is now considered even more destructive than Cyclone Aila, which slammed the region in May 2009.
Amphan hit seven districts badly, namely South 24 Paraganas, North 24 Paraganas, East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata, with damages also reported in the district of Birbhum.