A Buddhist monk walks through a road laid with fallen trees and branches after Cyclone Amphan hit the region in Kolkata, India, Thursday, May 21, 2020. A powerful cyclone ripped through densely populated coastal India and Bangladesh, blowing off roofs and whipping up waves that swallowed embankments and bridges and left entire villages without access to fresh water, electricity and communications. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Recovery begins after storm ravages India, Bangladesh coast

May 22, 2020 - 2:36 am

NEW DELHI (AP) — India authorities on Friday began assessing damage and clearing roads in the wake of Cyclone Amphan that killed more than 90 people and left millions displaced after barreling through the coastal communities of eastern India and neighboring Bangladesh.

In West Bengal state, which bore the brunt of the storm that caused extensive flooding in its capital Kolkata, police and teams from India’s national disaster response force removed fallen trees and other debris, repaired communication lines and started getting hundreds of thousands of people out of shelters.

Amphan hit land Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, dumping heavy rain amid a battering storm surge.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the cyclone must be treated as a national disaster. She also pitched for monetary assistance from the federal government after receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Kolkata airport.

The two later conducted an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas of the state. It was Modi’s first trip outside the national capital after a coronavirus lockdown was imposed in late March.

Modi promised Thursday that “no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”

In an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh said the cyclone caused about $130 million in damage to infrastructure, housing, fisheries, livestock, water resources and agriculture. The full extent of the damage along India's eastern coast was not immediately known.

Authorities in both countries managed to evacuate more than 3 million people before Amphan struck.

At least 80 people were killed in West Bengal state, and two more deaths were reported in neighboring Odisha state. Bangladesh reported 13 deaths.

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