New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Cyclone Amphan, which has claimed the lives of 12 people and affected over five lakh across the country, has moved towards north-northeastwards and will weaken into a “cyclonic storm”, said the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), adding that it is currently centered over Bangladesh.

The IMD has also issued a heavy rainfall warning for Assam and Meghalaya stating that light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places very likely over the western districts of Assam and Meghalaya on May 21.

The extremely severe cyclone Amphan, packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 190 kmph, slammed Digha coast of West Bengal at 2.30 pm on Wednesday following which it led to heavy rainfall and gusting in various parts of the state.

Here are ten key updates you need to know about cyclone Amphan:

1. As per officials 12 people have died because of the cyclone Amphan in India so far. As per officials, North and South 24 Parganas districts in West Bengal have been the worst-hit by Amphan. The cyclone barrelled through the two districts, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping low lying towns and villages, the officials said.

2. Following this, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the impact of Amphan was "worse than coronavirus", adding that damages due to the cyclone could be in the state of Rs 1 lakh crore. “Area after area has been ruined. I have experienced a war-like situation today. At least 10-12 people have died. Nandigram, Ramnagar....the two districts of North and South 24 Parganas are destroyed,” she said.

3. The Kolkata airport has also been severely affected by Amphan and it has been severely damaged by the “extremely severe cyclonic storm”. Meanwhile, several parts of Kolkata were plunged into darkness after the strong winds upturned cars, felled trees and electricity poles.

4. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), meanwhile, has said that road clearance and restoration work is underway at various locations in West Bengal, including North 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, Howrah, Kolkata and South 24 Parganas.

5. Giving details about the rescue operations, NDRF chief SN Pradhan said over 5 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and more than 1.58 lakh in Odisha while adding that the storm is "a double challenge" for the country amid the fight against coronavirus pandemic.

6. “It's a massive challenge for NDRF to carry out restoration work in view of COVID-19. But our teams were semi-prepared for Amphan as they were preparing for combination of COVID-19 and floods. Our personnel observe protocols of social distancing and sanitization,” Pradhan said.

7. On the other hand, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has advised people against going out until government's green signal. It has said that thunderstorm accompanied by lightning and squall is likely over Bihar; with lightning and gusty winds at isolated places over Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and Meghalaya.

8. In neighbouring Bangladesh, the storm has claimed the lives of ten people and affected lakhs. Bangladesh had shifted over 20 lakh people to storm shelters and deployed the military to deal with the powerful cyclone.

9. The UNICEF has warned that at least 19 million children in parts of Bangladesh and India are at "imminent risk" from flash flooding and heavy rain because of the cyclone Amphan. It said that it is also very concerned that the COVID-19 could deepen the humanitarian consequences of Cyclone Amphan in both the countries.

10. Meanwhile, the IMD has said that "super cyclonic storm" Amphan has moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kilometres per hour during the past six hours, further weakened into a "cyclonic storm" and lay centred on Thursday over Bangladesh.

(With inputs from agencies)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma