Kolkata | Jagran News Desk: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that cyclone Amphan, which will weaken into a 'cyclonic storm', has claimed the lives of 72 people in the state.

Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the affected areas in the state, Mamata Banerjee announced a compensation of Rs 2.5 Lakh to the families of those who died in cyclone Amphan.

"I have never seen such a disaster before. I will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the state and see the situation," she said, as reported by news agency ANI.

This came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that no stone will be left unturned in helping those affected by cyclone 'Amphan'. 

"Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy", PM Modi tweeted earlier in the day.

Cyclone Amphan on Wednesday struck Digha coast of West Bengal, affecting over five lakh across the country. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), cyclone Amphan was the most fiercest cyclone to hit the state in the last 100 years.

The cyclone barrelled through coastal districts of North and South 24 Parganas of Bengal, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping low lying towns and villages, officials said.

Strong winds with speed up to 125 kmph per hour upturned cars in Kolkata and felled trees and electricity poles blocking important roads and intersections.

Reports arriving in Kolkata from North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore said roofs of thatched houses were blown away, electric poles got twisted and hundreds of trees broken and uprooted.

Thousands of people have been rendered homeless in these districts due to the cyclone last night, officials said.

According to officials, more than 1000 mobile towers across the state and city have been completely destroyed. Streets and homes in low-lying areas of Kolkata were swamped with rainwater.

Portions of several dilapidated buildings came crashing down in Kolkata and other parts of the state.

Embankments in Sundarban delta - a UNESCO site - were breached as the surge whipped up by the cyclone inundated several kilometers of the Island. Four jetties in South 24 Parganas have collapsed last night due to the storm.

According to state agricultural department, paddy crop in districts of Burdwan, West Midnapore and Hooghly has been completely destroyed due to the monstrous cyclone.

Teams of NDRF and State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) has been working on a war footing to clear the roads. Heavy machinery was moved in to clear the roads blocked by uprooted trees.

In several shelter homes in the districts, people were seen jostling for food and shelter giving a thumbs down to social distancing norms due to the COVID pandemic.

More than five lakh people have been evacuated to safety by the state government.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma