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Cyclone Bulbul: 8 dead, 4.65 lakh affected in Bengal (2nd Lead)

Cyclone Bulbul has left behind a trail of destruction in West Bengal, taking away eight lives in three districts, affecting 4.65 lakh people and damaging around 60,000 houses, officials said on Sunday.
Cyclone Bulbul: 8 dead, 4.65 lakh affected in Bengal (2nd Lead)

The storm also uprooted hundreds of trees and affected power supply in parts of the state.

Five loss of lives were reported from Basirhat sub-division in North 24 Parganas district, while South 24 Parganas recorded two deaths and another succumbed in East Midnapore as Bulbul ploughed through the Bengal coast close to Sundarban Dhanchi forest between 8.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. on Saturday before going off to Bangladesh as a weakened cyclonic storm.

The deaths were caused by trawler capsize, house collapse, trees and electric poles falling on the victims as also electrocution.

In Gosaba of South 24 Parganas, a woman perished when she slipped and fell while rushing to take shelter in a neighbouring house during the cyclone.

Official sources in Nabanna secretariat said 4.65 lakh people were affected, while 1.78 lakh persons were sheltered in 471 relief camps.

"The number of houses fully, partially or severely damaged is 60,000," the sources said.

In the worst-hit Basirhat sub-division alone, 3,100 houses suffered damages, said state food and supplies minister Jyotipriyo Mullick.

Mullick, who toured the Bulbul-hit areas in Basirhat on Sunday, said the condition of Sandeshkhali was "very bad".

"There has been massive damage to agricultural land. We have to meet the crisis on a war footing," he said.

Six teams of National Disaster Response Force and four State Disaster Response Force teams alongside 15,000 volunteers were carrying out relief and rescue operations in the affected areas, Khan said.

So far, 46,000 tarpauline sheets have been distributed, and 373 group kitchens were operating .

"We are still awaiting information from some of the remote areas. Only then we will be able to collate the total damage," said the minister.

According to the Regional Meteorological Centre here, Canning in South 24 Parganas recorded 20 cm rainfall in the 24-hour period till 8.30 a.m. on Sunday. Contai and Digha in East Mindapore district received 16 cm and 10 cm rains respectively during the same period.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take stock of the situation.

In the telephonic conversation, Modi assured Banerjee of all possible assistance from the Central government.

Banerjee, who led from the front by stationing herself in the special control room set up at the Nabanna secretariat till the wee hours on Sunday, announced she would make an aerial survey of the Bulbul hit areas around Namkhana and Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas district on Monday and review relief and rehabilitation measures in Kakdwip with the district administration.

She plans to visit Basirhat on Wednesday.

A Kolkata Port Trust official said its personnel rescued 200 persons from Sagar Island and housed them in a safe building.

The tourist resort of Bakkhali was virtually in ruins, with rows of damaged shops, collapsed houses, and uprooted trees and electric poles.

Two jetties collapsed in Namkhana, where the station also sustained damage, with a part of the asbestos roof giving way. Two jetties were damaged too.

A number of villages were inundated in Kultali following the erosion of the Matla river triggered by Bulbul. Lot of houses collapsed, and a large number of people were rendered homeless.

( With inputs from IANS )

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