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Death toll hit 95 as India, Bangladesh clean up after devastating cyclone

Authorities in eastern India and Bangladesh on Friday were struggling to restore road links, communication lines and electricity after a devastating cyclone in which no fewer than 95 people were killed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is carrying out an aerial survey of the devastation in West Bengal, which bore the brunt of the cyclone in India.

Cyclone Amphan made landfall on Wednesday accompanied by high-speed winds and torrential rain.

It destroyed homes and crops, uprooted trees, submerged vast tracts of land and snapped power and communication lines in both India and Bangladesh.

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According to disaster management officials, so far no fewer than 95 deaths have been reported: 80 from West Bengal and Odisha states in India and 15 from Bangladesh.

“Most of the deaths were caused by trees falling on thatched houses, the collapse of parts of buildings due to the impact of the winds and rain, and electrocution,’’ officials said.

Thousands of trees which blocked roads, including in Kolkata, one of India’s largest cities, were being cleared, water pumped out and electricity gradually restored.

The clean-up operations are complicated by the new COVID-19 with millions now housed in emergency shelters after their homes were destroyed.

Officials in West Bengal and Bangladesh said they were currently trying to assess the extent of loss and damage especially in the Sunderbans mangrove forest about which information was still trickling in.

Reports were expected in two to three days, Bangladesh disaster management official Iftekharul Islam said.

Sunderbans is an ecologically fragile biosphere reserve area known for the famous Bengal tigers.

It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. (dpa/NAN)

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