Amphan landed in India on 20 May in the coastal areas of East India. Thousands of trees were uprooted, electricity and telephone lines broke down, buildings devastated, houses flattened and vehicles collapsed. Many of the Kolkata roads flooded and its 14 million people were without power. It really seemed like the end of the world amidst this pandemic. The Ministry of earth sciences described it as the “Worst over for India” as reported in The Hindu.
“Disasters remind us to wake up, help, love, give, and pray.”
Amphan cyclone was a powerful, super cyclonic storm quite deadly in outcomes that caused widespread damage over East India and Bangladesh in May 2020. It began its formation around 16 May 2020 in the Ganges delta and dissipated on 21 May 2020. The highest wind velocity was recorded to be 240 km/h which sustained for around 1 minute. The fatalities recorded are around 118 according to Wikipedia. It is recorded to be the costliest damage in the North Indian ocean which is approximately greater than $13.35 billion. The highly affected areas are found to be Sri Lanka, India (Andaman Islands, Odisha, West Bengal), Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
This Amphan originated from a low-pressure area persisting a couple of hundred miles east of Colombo, Sri Lanka on 13 May 2020. The disturbance was tracked northeastward over the exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre(JTWC) on 15 May. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) followed the suit on the next day. On 17 May, Amphan underwent rapid intensification and became an extremely severe cyclonic storm within 12 hours. On 20 May between 10:00 and 11:00 UTC, the cyclone made landfall in West Bengal.
Preparing for any disaster is the best we can do
Amphan’s forecast track placed 38.9 million people in India and Bangladesh at risk according to the US Pacific Disaster Centre. So, IMD issued a cyclonic alert for India’s coastline along the Bay of Bengal, advising fishermen not to sail to the susceptible locations in the Bay of Bengal from 15-18 May. Fishermen from Sri Lanka were also advised by the National government to return to remain in the country. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Chennai activated an International safety net for the Bay of Bengal. The evacuation plans at this time matter a lot. The government of Odisha directed the magistrates of the four districts on 15 May to establish shelter homes for possible evacuees.
Odisha Chief Secretary, Asit Kumar Tripathy initially identified 403 possible cyclone shelters in areas potentially impacted by Amphan though 105 served as temporary medical centers for quarantines associated with the concurrent COVID-19 pandemic. Shelters could only be filled to one-third capacity to maintain social distancing guidelines due to the pandemic.
The Kolkota Municipal Corporation located schools and community centers for possible use as a temporary shelter to augment evacuation capacity. The cyclone produced heavy rainfall and strong winds with threatening thunderstorms.
To fight such large damage of land and life, The PM Narendra Modi decided to conduct an aerial survey over Kolkata along with CM Mamta Banerjee on 22 May. Modi announced INR 10 billion immediate relief for West Bengal and INR 5 billion relief for Odisha. In advance Modi announced that that INR 200,000 would be provided to the next kin of people who died during the storm, and INR 50,000 would be given to each person who was injured.
We need to remember that whenever some natural calamities hit the human race, the prayers among the groups and individuals become prevalent. I firmly believe that even virtual prayers are very effective. The help of many NGOs and social workers rise in these times of natural disasters and they showcase the prevalence of goodness in the society. We must come up with any help from our side as a little contribution to a social cause and must encourage the ones around us to do the same. Let the light in you glow brighter by reading motivational quotes about life and real stories of the people who are a source of inspiration. It believed that the people die soon without hope so it’s the moral duty of everyone to give hope to the people affected by the disaster, send prayers and do something at least to lessen their burden.
It is essential to remember that you are worthy if you lighten the other with a burden.