India and Bangladesh – Torrential Rain From Cyclone Amphan Triggers Flooding

Storm surge and torrential rain brought by Cyclone Amphan caused flooding in parts of West Bengal in India and Bangladesh.

Typhoon Amphan in the Bay of Bengal, approaching India Bangladesh may 2020. Image: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)

Amphan made landfall in eastern India on 20 May, with winds of 185 km/h causing damage in the state of Odisha and in particular in West Bengal in India before moving on to Bangladesh.

Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. Winds ripped off roofs and downed trees and power lines. Millions across India and Bangladesh have been left without electricity.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at least 12 people had died in the state. The Chief Minister said the districts of South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore were the worst affected. At least 9 people are thought to have died in Bangladesh with fatalities reported in the districts of Jashore, Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali and Pirojpur.

More than 650,000 people had preemptively evacuated their homes in West Bengal and Odisha states in India. As many as 2.4 million people had moved to safe shelters in Bangladesh.

Amphan dumped more than 250 mm of rain in 24 hours in Kolkata, flooding the city’s streets. Images on Social Media showed flood water up to car windows. Kolkata Airport was also flooded and flights temporarily suspended.

Heavy rain was also reported in parts of Bangladesh. Ishwardi in the west of the country recorded over 155mm of rain in 24 hours to 21 May. Storm surge of 1.5 metres was reported along parts of the country’s low-lying coast. An embankment in Bagerhat District in Khulna Division collapsed, flooding nearby villages.

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