NEW DELHI (AP) — Heavy rain and a high tide lashed parts of eastern India and neighboring Bangladesh as a cyclone pushed ashore Wednesday in an area where
more than 1.1 million people have evacuated during a devastating coronavirus surge.
Cyclone Yaas already had caused two deaths and damaged homes as heavy rains pounded Odisha and West Bengal states before the storm began making landfall
in the late morning.
The “very severe cyclonic storm” is packing sustained winds of 130-140 kilometers (up to 87 miles) per hour and gusts up to 155 kph (97 mph), the India
Meteorological Department said. With the storm now almost fully on land, winds are expected to weaken by Wednesday evening.
In Bangladesh, thousands of people in 200 villages were marooned as their homes, shops and farms were flooded by tidal surges.
In southern Patuakhali district, more than 20 villages in Rangabali went underwater after two river embankments were washed away, said Mashfaqur Rahman,
the area’s top administrator. He said at least 15,000 people had taken refuge in cyclone shelters.
In India, television images showed knee-deep water flooding the beachfront and other areas of Digha, a resort town in West Bengal. Wind gusts whipped palm
trees back and forth, and overflowing water breached several river banks.
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West Bengal state’s top elected official, Mamata Banerjee, told reporters that 20,000 mud huts and temporary shelters for the poor have been damaged along
On Tuesday, a tornado snapped electricity lines that electrocuted two people and damaged 40 houses, Banerjee said.
More than 17 centimeters (6.5 inches) of rain fell in Chandabali and Paradip regions of Odisha state since Tuesday, the meteorological department said.
Tidal waves of up to 4 meters (13 feet) were forecast.
Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar airports were shut and train services canceled. Fishing trawlers and boats were told to take shelter.
The cyclone, coming amid a coronavirus surge, complicates India’s efforts to deal with both after another storm, Cyclone Tauktae, hit India’s west coast
last week and killed more than 140 people.