The Centre on Friday assured advances of ₹1,000 crore to West Bengal and ₹500 crore to Odisha for relief and rehabilitation measures after the two state were devastated by very severe cyclonic storm Amphan.
A Union home ministry team will soon visit West Bengal to assess the extent of damage, which the state government has pegged at ₹1 trillion.
“ ₹1,000 crore advance assurance will be given to West Bengal. ₹2 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the persons deceased and ₹50,000 each to the persons who have been seriously injured because of the cyclone in parts of West Bengal," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after conducting an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit regions.
Supercyclone Amphan hit the West Bengal coast near Sunderbans with the intensity of a very severe cyclonic storm on Wednesday, killing more than 80 people across the state, making it one of the worst disasters West Bengal has faced in recent times. The cyclone uprooted trees, damaged buildings and resulted in storm surges of up to 4 metres high pounding coastal areas. More than 500,000 people have been evacuated and remain in relief shelters, amid the threat of a coronavirus contagion.
Amphan snapped power to thousands of households, destroyed shops and cropland, and flooded vast stretches, putting them beyond reach. The risk of waterborne diseases also looms large.
“We are battling a pandemic on one hand and now there is a cyclone situation. Dealing with the pandemic requires social distancing, whereas battling the cyclone requires people to move to safer areas….We all want West Bengal to move ahead. The Centre will always stand with West Bengal in these testing times," Modi said.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who briefed him about the scale of destruction. Banerjee said the state has suffered damage up to ₹1 trillion, including vast destruction of infrastructure and cropland in coastal areas.
Modi conducted an aerial survey of Odisha as well, where the northern districts were damaged by the cyclone, before it made landfall in West Bengal. The prime minister also announced central assistance to the state.