The storm has passed, but massive clean-up operations are now underway in India and Bangladesh after Cyclone Amphan claimed more than 90 lives and caused a reported $13.2 billion in damages in West Bengal alone.

Village people try to repair the broken dam after the...

SHATKHIRA, KHULNA, BANGLADESH – 2020/05/21: Village people try to repair the broken dam after the … [+] landfall of cyclone Amphan in Satkhira. At least 15 people in Bangladesh and 72 people in India died after cyclone Amphan to hit parts of Bangladesh and eastern India. (Photo by K M Asad/LightRocket via Getty Images)

LightRocket via Getty Images


Amphan, the most powerful cyclone ever to form in the Bay of Bengal, made landfall on India’s east coast Wednesday afternoon.

The cyclone had weakened substantially by Wednesday and didn’t produce as many fatalities as many feared it might, but still caused extensive damage in both India and Bangladesh.

The hardest-hit area was West Bengal, which bore the cyclone’s brunt, with the local government declaring that approximately 60% of the population was affected.

CNN is reporting that the destruction inflicted by Amphan likely cost north of $13 billion in West Bengal alone.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Friday that the central government would put forward a $132 million relief package to help those affected by the storm, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee pledged to spend an equal amount on recovery efforts.

As many as 500,000 families in Bangladesh may now be homeless, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Critical quote: 

“I assure my brothers and sisters of West Bengal that the entire country stands with you in these difficult times,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday after conducting an aerial survey of the devastation in the state.


Key Background:

Earlier this week, it was feared that Amphan would produce a level of destruction similar to the only other super cyclone on record to hit the Bay of Bengal. That storm, which was unnamed, arrived in October of 1999 and inflicted a total damage cost of roughly $4.44 billion, with the Government of India identifying 9,887 fatalities in the country. As of Wednesday, officials in Bangladesh feared Amphan would be the most catastrophic storm since Cyclone Sidr killed approximately 3,500 people in 2007. Evacuation efforts were significantly compromised by the Covid-19 outbreak (India reported its 100,000th infection this week), as some resisted packing into shelters because they feared the coronavirus. India announced its most substantial single-day spike in confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, recording a total of 6,088 in 24 hours. 

Further Reading:

Cyclone Amphan caused an estimated $13.2 billion in damage in India’s West Bengal: government source (CNN)

Cyclone Amphan Destroys Thousands Of Homes As It Lashes India, Bangladesh (Forbes) 

Kolkata surveys damage after bearing brunt of Cyclone Amphan (The Guardian) 

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