21 May 2020 - Bangladesh, India

Save the Children assesses the damage in India and Bangladesh in the wake of Cyclone Amphan

Noakhali district, southwestern Bangladesh

Following the most powerful cyclone ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal, The governments of India and Bangladesh, as well as aid agencies, are assessing the damage and the immediate needs of communities in the worst affected areas. Cyclone Amphan slammed into eastern India and southwestern Bangladesh on the evening of 20th May, uprooting trees, felling power lines and destroying homes and crops. Save the Children teams are ready to respond, though relief efforts are complicated by COVID-19.

Mostak Hussain, Humanitarian Director for Save the Children in Bangladesh, said:

“Even by Bangladeshi standards, this was a powerful storm, and our teams are on the ground assessing the situation. We’ve received reports that more than five million people were disconnected from the electricity grid for their own safety as winds of 150 kph smashed into power lines, destroying homes and uprooting trees. In some of the worst affected areas there was a tidal surge of nearly three metres, causing dams to overflow and submerging low-lying villages and crops.

“Our biggest responsibility now is making sure that displaced children and their families can return to their homes, while complying with social distancing guidelines to protect people from COVID-19. Save the Children is responding to the needs of the people in the most affected areas, supporting the Bangladesh Government’s relief efforts.”

Bidisha Pillai, CEO of Save the Children India, said:

“India's National Disaster Response Force is doing its best to open up the road networks. Now that the storm has passed, our biggest concern is ensuring vulnerable children and their families have a roof over their head, food to eat and access to basic healthcare. But the response will undoubtedly be complicated by COVID-19 and the need to ensure that we keep people, including our staff, safe at all times.”

“Save the Children’s humanitarian team, along with our partners, has begun assessing the damage after witnessing one of the strongest cyclones to hit India in decades. The picture will become clearer in the coming days -- when we will better understand the priorities of families and children affected by the cyclone.

“We are learning that thousands of homes are completely destroyed, tens of thousands of trees have been uprooted, disrupting traffic even in Kolkata, making it hard to reach those who need help. Much of Odisha and West Bengal are still without power so communication with our teams is also a challenge.”

Content of the destruction and flooding caused by the cyclone in West Bengal, India here.

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