Deadly cy­clone cuts dam­ag­ing path in re­gion

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - WORLD - By Sheikh Saaliq and Julhas Alam Sheikh Saaliq and Julhas Alam are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

NEW DELHI — Wide swaths of coastal In­dia and Bangladesh were flooded and mil­lions were with­out power Thurs­day as Cy­clone Am­phan, the most pow­er­ful storm to hit the re­gion in more than a decade, killed over 80 peo­ple and cut a path of de­struc­tion that is still be­ing as­sessed.

Many parts of the In­dian me­trop­o­lis of Kolkata, home to more than 14 mil­lion peo­ple, were un­der wa­ter, and its air­port was closed briefly by flood­ing. Roads were lit­tered with up­rooted trees and lamp posts, elec­tric­ity and com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines were down and cen­turies­old build­ings were dam­aged.

Of­fi­cials in both coun­tries said the full ex­tent of the dam­age caused by the cy­clone was not known be­cause com­mu­ni­ca­tions to many places were cut. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple were evac­u­ated ahead of the storm, a process com­pli­cated by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Am­phan came ashore Wed­nes­day with heavy rain, a bat­ter­ing storm surge and sus­tained winds of 105 mph and gusts up to 118 mph. It dev­as­tated coastal vil­lages, knock­ing down mud houses, tear­ing down util­ity poles and up­root­ing trees.

“I have never seen such a dis­as­ter be­fore,” said West Ben­gal chief min­is­ter Ma­mata Banerjee, adding that the gov­ern­ment would pay the equiv­a­lent of $3,310 to fam­i­lies who lost a rel­a­tive in the storm.

At least 74 peo­ple were killed in In­dia, with most of the deaths in West Ben­gal state, which in­cludes Kolkata. Broad­cast­ers in Bangladesh re­ported 13 were killed in that coun­try.

“The roofs of many homes have flown away and the streets are wa­ter­logged,” said Shuli Ghosh, who runs a cafe in

Kolkata.

With many of its streets still flooded and phone and in­ter­net ser­vice not fully re­stored, of­fi­cials said they were try­ing to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of dam­age in the cap­i­tal of West Ben­gal state.

In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said au­thor­i­ties were work­ing to get all pos­si­ble as­sis­tance to vic­tims of the cy­clone.

“No stone will be left un­turned in help­ing the af­fected,” he tweeted.

About 10 mil­lion peo­ple in Bangladesh re­mained with­out elec­tric­ity, said Moin Ud­din, chair­man of the Bangladesh Ru­ral Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion Board.

Munir Uz Za­man / AFP / Getty Im­ages

Vol­un­teers and res­i­dents work to fix a dam dam­aged by Cy­clone Am­phan in Burigoalin­i, Bangladesh. More than 80 peo­ple have been killed.

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