Cyclone Remal ravages parts of Bengal, heavy rain continues to batter region

A day after Cyclone Remal tore through the coasts of Bangladesh and West Bengal with devastating winds reaching speeds of 135 kilometres per hour, scenes of widespread devastation were evident across West Bengal's coastal areas, with extensive damage to infrastructure and property.
Effects of Remel in West Bengal
Effects of Remel in West Bengal

Kolkata | A day after Cyclone Remal tore through the coasts of Bangladesh and West Bengal with devastating winds reaching speeds of 135 kilometres per hour, scenes of widespread devastation were evident across West Bengal's coastal areas, with extensive damage to infrastructure and property.

The cyclone ravaged adjacent coasts of the state and Bangladesh between Sagar Island and Khepupara, near the southwest of Mongla in the neighbouring country, after its landfall process began at 8.30 pm on Sunday.

Remal left a trail of destruction in its wake. Roofs of thatched huts were blown away, trees uprooted and electric poles knocked down, causing significant disruption in various parts of the state, including Kolkata.

Efforts to restore normality are underway, with emergency services working to clear debris and restore power in the affected areas. However, the continuous heavy rain is hampering these operations in most of the affected areas, officials said.

The full extent of the damage is still being assessed but initial reports suggest that it will take considerable time and effort to recover from this natural disaster.

The state government has initiated relief operations, providing food, drinking water and medical assistance to the people affected.

The authorities have urged residents to remain indoors and take necessary precautions as the heavy rain persists.

The India Meteorological Department said the severe cyclonic storm crossed Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal coasts between Sagar Islands and Khepupara, close to southwest of Mongla between 10:30 pm of May 26 and 12:30 am on May 27.

In a later update, it said Remal weakened into a cyclonic storm at 5:30 am, about 70 kilometres northeast of Canning and 30 kilometres west-southwest of Mongla.

The system is likely to gradually weaken further, it added.

Waterlogging has been reported in several areas, compounding the misery of the affected residents.

The storm brought with it heavy rain, which continued into Monday, flooding homes and farmlands.

In the Gosaba area of the Sundarbans, one person was injured after being hit by debris. In Kolkata's Bibir Bagan area, a person was hurt when a wall collapsed due to the relentless downpour.

The West Bengal government evacuated more than one lakh people from vulnerable areas ahead of the cyclone's landfall.

This effort was focused primarily on the South 24 Parganas district, including Sagar Island, Sundarbans and Kakdwip.

NDRF workers are ready to cope with any emergency during Remel
NDRF workers are ready to cope with any emergency during Remel

While the move saved lives, damage to property remains extensive.

The North and South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts reported widespread damage. News footage from the coastal resort town of Digha showed tidal waves crashing into a seawall, with surging waters sweeping fishing boats inland and inundating mud-and-thatch houses and farmlands.

The cyclone caused rainfall and winds in areas such as Digha, Kakdwip and Jaynagar, that intensified on Monday.

Districts in the southern part of the state recorded light to moderate downpour in the 24 hours till 5.30 pm on Sunday, with Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas receiving 68.4 millimetres rainfall and Kanthi in Purba Medinipur district 58 millimetre.

Fourteen National Disaster Response Force teams were deployed across districts in south Bengal, including Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, Purba and Paschim Medinipur, Howrah and Hooghly.

The West Bengal government has kept State Disaster Response Force teams ready. Relief materials and quick response teams are in place, according to the officials.

Relief materials, including dry food and tarpaulins, have been dispatched to the coastal areas and quick response teams comprising trained civil defence volunteers and equipped vehicles are in place.

The cyclone has led to significant disruptions in air, rail and road transportation in Kolkata and other parts of southern Bengal. The Eastern and the South Eastern Railways cancelled some trains for Sunday and Monday.

The Kolkata airport suspended flight operations for 21 hours from Sunday noon, affecting 394 flights in both international and domestic sectors.

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