A powerful cyclone pounded eastern India on Wednesday (May 20), killing at least 10 people and destroying thousands of homes, officials said, leaving authorities struggling to mount relief efforts amid a surging coronavirus outbreak.
The populous Indian state of West Bengal took the brunt of Cyclone Amphan, which barrelled out of the Bay of Bengal with gusting winds of up to 185 km per hour (115 mph) and a storm surge of around five meters.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at least 10 people had died in the state, and two districts were completely battered by one of the strongest storms to hit the region in several years.
Authorities said the hardest hits areas were not immediately accessible due to continued rain.
In West Bengal’s capital city, Kolkata, strong winds upturned cars and felled trees and electricity poles while parts of the city were plunged into darkness.
In neighbouring Bangladesh, at least four people were killed, officials said, with power supplies cut off in some districts.
Cyclones frequently batter parts of eastern India and Bangladesh between April and December, often forcing the evacuations of tens of thousands and causing widespread damage.