North India

Cyclone Remal claims six lives in West Bengal, leaves trail of destruction

Cyclone Remal claimed six lives in West Bengal and inflicted substantial damage to infrastructure and property in the state's coastal regions, officials said on Monday.

Kolkata: Cyclone Remal claimed six lives in West Bengal and inflicted substantial damage to infrastructure and property in the state’s coastal regions, officials said on Monday.

A man died of his injuries when a wall collapsed due to relentless downpour on Sunday evening at Bibir Bagan in Central Kolkata, a state disaster management official said.

An elderly woman from Mousuni Island near Namkhana, situated adjacent to the Sundarbans delta, succumbed to her injuries on Monday morning after a tree fell on her hut, leading to the collapse of the roof.

Two more women, one a resident of Maheshtala in South 24 Parganas and another from Panihati in North 24 Parganas, also lost their lives as a result of the natural calamity. In Purba Bardhaman district’s Memari, a father and son died from electrocution, officials said.

Several people were injured in various parts of the state after being hit by debris.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while addressing an election rally in North Kolkata, claimed three people had died. “The administration is already providing assistance and relief to those whose mud houses and crops have been damaged. I promise that I will provide the necessary assistance” Banerjee said at the meeting.

The state government evacuated over two lakh people to relief camps and cyclone shelters.

After tearing through the coasts of Bangladesh and West Bengal, Cyclone Remal left a trail of destruction, with pictures of devastation emerging across the state’s coastal areas, showing extensive damage to infrastructure and property soon after daybreak on Monday.

The state government has initiated relief operations, providing food, drinking water, and medical assistance to the affected people.

According to a communication by the state government, more than 1,700 electric poles were damaged, and many trees were uprooted by the cyclone.

More than 2,500 houses have been completely damaged, whereas 27,000 houses have been partially damaged.

“More than 1,400 relief camps are presently operational in the affected districts,” the government said.

While several pockets of Kolkata remained waterlogged, suburban train services from Sealdah resumed late in the afternoon.

Flight services at Kolkata airport resumed on Monday morning after being suspended for 21 hours due to Cyclone Remal. Airport sources, however, said it would take some more time for the situation to return to normal.

The cyclone ravaged adjacent coasts of the state and Bangladesh between Sagar Island and Khepupara, near the southwest of Mongla in the neighbouring country, after its landfall process began at 8:30 pm on Sunday and lasted for a good four hours.

In an update on Monday morning, the Met office said ‘Remal’ weakened into a cyclonic storm, about 70 km northeast of Canning and 30 km west-southwest of Mongla.

Efforts to restore normalcy are underway, with emergency services working to clear debris and restore power in the affected areas. However, relentless heavy rain is hampering these operations in most of the affected areas, officials said.

While the metropolis received around 190 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, Haldia and other places in the state received around 110 mm to 60 mm.

Major arterial roads like Central Avenue and College Street in central Kolkata and pockets of Ballygunge, Dhakuria and Behala in the south continued to remain waterlogged during the later part of the day as well.

Reports indicated that approximately 68 trees were uprooted in Kolkata, with an additional 75 trees downed in Salt Lake and Rajarhat.

The North and South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts reported widespread damage. News footage from the coastal resort town of Digha showed tidal waves crashing into a seawall, with surging waters sweeping fishing boats inland and inundating mud-and-thatch houses and farmlands.

Weathermen have forecast more rain in Kolkata and the southern districts, including Nadia and Murshidabad, with one or two spells of intense downpours, along with gusty surface winds till Tuesday morning.

State Power Minister Aroop Biswas said the disruptions and damage to the power supply infrastructure caused by Cyclone Remal will be addressed soon.

He noted that there had been one or two incidents of power outages in the CESC area due to fallen trees.

A total of 14 National Disaster Response Force teams were deployed for relief and restoration work across districts in south Bengal, including Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah, and Hooghly.

Relief materials, including dry food and tarpaulins, have been dispatched to the coastal areas, and quick response teams comprising trained civil defence volunteers with equipped vehicles are in place, officials said.

Political parties didn’t miss the opportunity in poll-bound Bengal, with leaders of both the BJP and the TMC hitting the roads to help affected people and assist in restoring normalcy.

“Coastal West Bengal is reeling under the impact of cyclone #Remal. The only ones out there assisting people in need are NDRF and BJP leaders. Our Dum Dum candidate Silbhadra Dutta and Basirhat co-incharge Dr Archana Majumdar, among others, are standing with people, in need. Mamata Banerjee hasn’t stepped out, at all. Maybe she is scared that her ‘Hawai’ chappal will get wet,” BJP leader Amit Malviya posted on X.

TMC refuted Kunal Ghosh refuted the allegations and said, “it is the TMC and the state government which has been working relentlessly to provide relief to the affected masses.”

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