Coronavirus timebomb in India as massive Cyclone Amphan threatening to batter country forces 1,000s to break lockdown – The Sun

A MASSIVE cyclone is set to batter the coast of India, forcing tens of thousands of people to break the coronavirus lockdown to seek shelter.

The country’s weather office said Super Cyclone Amphan had reached winds of up to 165 mph over the Bay of Bengal on Monday night and was expected to make landfall tomorrow.

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Such wind speeds could make Amphan one of the biggest storms to hit Indian in about a decade, said officials.

India imposed the world’s biggest lockdown in March to contain the coronavirus which has infected more than 100,000 people and killed 3,164.

The states of Odisha and West Bengal were moving families to more than 1,000 shelters in government offices.

Schools and colleges were hastily converting coronavirus quarantine centres into cyclone shelters.

But the need to maintain social distancing has left the authorities with a headache.

“We have just about six hours left to evacuate people from their homes and we also have to maintain social distancing norms,” said S.G. Rai federal disaster management official told Reuters.

He added that that the cyclone “could wash away thousands of huts” as well as crops.

Trains plying thousands of migrant workers from the Indian capital New Delhi to eastern states, after the coronavirus lockdown of the country’s rail system was eased.

Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, India’s meteorological chief said warned of uprooted trees, electric poles and damage to old or temporary housing.
Flooding was a risk in Kolkata due to crowding and poor drainage and the storm surge would raise river levels in the Bengal delta, he added.

India, with a coastline 4,670 miles experiences more than a tenth of all the world’s tropical cyclones, the bulk of them on its eastern coast.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, officials intensified preparations as the cyclone could trigger the worst storm in about 15 years along the country’s low-lying coast.

The country’s Meteorological Department said the cyclone could flood vast areas with tidal waves 4 to 5 feet higher than normal, along with heavy rainfall and high wind speeds.

Junior Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman has ordered the preparation of thousands of cyclone shelters and makeshift structures to take more than 5 million.

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