10 million people affected by cyclone Amphan

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The passage of cyclone Amphan on Wednesday across eastern India and across Bangladesh killed 95 people and left these regions destroyed: flooded villages, razed crops, destroyed houses. According to the UN, 10 million people have been affected.

Hundreds of flooded villages, lost crops and homes destroyed by tens of thousands: the passage of Cyclone Amphan has left scenes of “incredible devastation” in India and Bangladesh. The UN Office in Bangladesh estimates that the cyclone killed 10 million people and destroyed the homes of 500,000 people.

Despite significant material damage, human losses appear to have been limited: Amphan has left 95 dead, according to official accounts that are still provisional, including 72 dead in the West Bengal state of India and 23 in Bangladesh.

Lessons from past disasters

Until recently, the results of the most violent cyclones could amount to thousands of deaths around the Bay of Bengal. In 1970, half a million people died in Cyclone Bhola. The last particularly deadly cyclone, Sidr, killed 3,500 people in Bangladesh in 2007.

But this country and India have learned the lessons of the disasters of previous decades: they have built thousands of shelter for the population and implemented rapid evacuation policies. Weather monitoring systems are also more sophisticated.

As Cyclone Amphan approached, the local authorities in these two South Asian nations protected more than 3 million people living in risk areas.

Winds and wind water wall

Wind gusts of around 160 km / h and heavy rain were not the only hazards. Cyclones can also cause a storm surge, a sea wall sometimes several meters high, which can be especially devastating when it breaks over coastal areas.

In the Bangladeshi village of Purba Durgabati, hundreds of locals all night fought against the elements to try the beach wall to protect them. But the rise of the river, four feet in places, pulverized it for nearly 2 kilometers, causing flooding of 600 homes.

This disaster comes at a time when India and Bangladesh have been limited since the end of March to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, a measure that has suddenly stopped economic activity.

With AFP

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