cyclone Amphan Bengal
Residents salvage their belongings from the rubble of a damaged house in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, in South 24 Parganas district in the eastern state of West Bengal, India, May 22, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Kolkata: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by cyclone Amphan in West Bengal.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The senior leaders were seen wearing masks and covering their faces as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Banerjee was seen briefing the Prime Minister about the situation in the state. They discussed aspects of relief and rehabilitation in view of the damage caused by the cyclone.

Later in the day, the Prime Minister is scheduled to conduct an aerial survey in Odisha as well.

Modi announced a Rs 10 billion (Dh483 million) relief package for the cyclone-hit state, saying the nation stood with Bengal in this hour of crisis.

The Prime Minister also said that a federal government team will soon visit West Bengal and conduct a detailed survey of the losses caused by the cyclone.

In West Bengal, which bore the brunt of the storm that caused extensive flooding in its capital Kolkata, police and teams from India’s national disaster response force removed fallen trees and other debris, repaired communication lines and started getting hundreds of thousands of people out of shelters.

Amphan hit land Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, dumping heavy rain amid a battering storm surge.

Banerjee said the cyclone must be treated as a national disaster. She also pitched for monetary assistance from the federal government after receiving Modi at the Kolkata airport.

Modi promised Thursday that “no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”

In an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh said the cyclone caused about $130 million in damage to infrastructure, housing, fisheries, livestock, water resources and agriculture. The full extent of the damage along India’s eastern coast was not immediately known.

Authorities in both countries managed to evacuate more than 3 million people before Amphan struck.

At least 80 people were killed in West Bengal state, and two more deaths were reported in neighboring Odisha state. Bangladesh reported 13 deaths.

- with inputs from agencies