Cyclone bears down Heavy rains in India and Bangladesh today
India and Bangladesh have asked for schools and other buildings to be turned into temporary shelters – but they need more than usual, in order to house people while maintaining social distancing.
Police in India’s West Bengal state, which is expected to be badly affected by the storm, told the BBC that people were unwilling to go to the shelters because they were afraid of contracting Covid-19.
Cyclone ‘Amphan’ is set to make landfall on Wednesday as it has moved closer to the mainland. The extremely severe cyclonic storm lay at 155km south-southeast of Paradip, Odisha, 280 km south of Digha, West Bengal at 5:30 am on Wednesday. Lakhs of people in West Bengal and Odisha have been evacuated from vulnerable areas and shifted to safer locations.
strong winds and heavy rain in parts of Odisha and Bengal as it advanced towards the Indian coast. More than four lakh people have been evacuated to safety in both the states. Officials anticipate massive destruction when the cyclone strikes; Amphan is expected to pack winds gusting up to 185 kilometres per hour when it crosses West Bengal’s Digha and Hatiya island of Bangladesh where around 20 million have been moved to over 12,000 shelters. Amphan is only the second “super cyclone” to form in the northeastern Indian Ocean since records began.
While the storm’s current wind speed is likely to reduce slightly before it makes landfall, India’s weather department is predicting the surge of water caused could be as high as 10-16 feet (3-5 metres).