Officials announced on Thursday, May 21, that the number of confirmed fatalities in the states of West Bengal and Odisha from the passing of Cyclone Amphan has increased to 72. Although Amphan, the strongest tropical storm to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999, quickly degraded into a cyclonic storm after making landfall near Kolkata (West Bengal state) on Wednesday, May 20, the weather system caused widespread devastation across coastal communities in West Bengal and Odisha, destroying roads and leaving an estimated 15 million people without power. Authorities continue to assess damage from the storm, though efforts have been hampered by widespread flooding, which has prevented access to many remote communities.
Officials have warned that the death toll is likely to increase further as rescue teams reach the worst flood-affected areas in West Bengal, where communications remain cut off. However, the evacuation of more than three million people from coastal communities in both India and Bangladesh is expected to have reduced the number of casualties.
Storm-related flooding, landslides, and transportation and business disruptions, as well as disruptions to power and communications services, are expected in Odisha and West Bengal in the coming days.
Individuals in Odisha and West Bengal are advised to monitor local weather reports in the near term, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, anticipate power and transportation disruptions, and avoid wading or driving through floodwater.
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