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Heavy Drenching in Bengal, Cyclone Fani Strongest Storm in Decades

"The rains will continue till early morning on Saturday, and the weather will start improving by evening"

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Kharagpur has so far recorded 95 mm rainfall, which will continue for the next two to three hours. Pixabay

Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, uprooted trees and triggered rains as it entered West Bengal post midnight on Saturday, hours after making landfall and causing havoc in Odisha on Friday.

No loss of life or any injury has been reported so far.

According to the Meteorological department, the extremely severe cyclonic storm relatively weakened after entering coastal Odisha and transformed into “very severe” as it approached Bengal.

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In the sea resort of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph. Pixabay

“The severe cyclonic storm Fani entered Bengal at 12.30 a.m. through Odisha’s Balasore. It crossed Kharagpur packing a wind of 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph,” Regional Meteorological Centre’s Deputy Director General Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, said.

The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata.

“It is likely to continue further in north, north east direction, and reach the east Burdwan-Hooghly border, and through Nadia go to Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon, weakening into a cyclonic storm, after having triggered rains,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Fani lashed cities and towns in coastal Bengal including Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Sandehskhali and Contai while the effects of the storm could also be felt in cities like Kharagpur and Burdwan as trees were uprooted and metal hoardings gave way.

Parts of Kolkata and the suburbs also received moderate to heavy rainfall since Friday afternoon.

The epicentre of the storm is expected to hit the city in the early hours on Saturday.

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The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata. Pixabay

The rains would continue till early Saturday.

In the sea resort of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph.

Kharagpur has so far recorded 95 mm rainfall, which will continue for the next two to three hours.

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“The rains will continue till early morning on Saturday, and the weather will start improving by evening,” he said.

The administration has switched off electricity to prevent any accident as the storm passed through a particular point in the state. (IANS)

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Southern Hemisphere’s Worst Weather Disasters Ever, Claims UN On Cyclone Idai

"We have also called on South African companies to donate for humanitarian assistance and following this morning's assessment, we'll make a further announcement for how we'll assist going forward," he said Tuesday.

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Family members dig for their son, who got buried in the mud when Cyclone Idai struck in Chimanimani about 600 kilometers southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, March 19, 2019. VOA

Cyclone Idai may be one of the worst weather disasters ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, U.N. experts say, with Mozambique suffering the brunt of the storm.

Idai tore across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe late last week, leaving behind a trail of devastation, including more than 350 people killed, hundreds missing, and hundreds of thousands homeless.

Mozambique’s death toll exceeded 200 Tuesday, President Filipe Nyusi said, after saying earlier the final number of dead could top 1,000.

Officials say the cyclone created an “inland ocean” across the country.

Soldiers and paramedics carry injured people from a helicopter in Chimanimani, about 600 kilometers southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 19, 2019.
Soldiers and paramedics carry injured people from a helicopter in Chimanimani, about 600 kilometers southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 19, 2019. VOA

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies called the damage to the coastal city of Beira “massive and horrifying.” They estimate 90 percent of the city was destroyed.

Rescue workers were dropping food, fresh water, and blankets to flood victims stranded on roofs, treetops, and any high piece of land. Airdrops are the only way to help most people in Beria, where roads are under water and communications gone.

Mozambique-based UNICEF spokesman Daniel Timme told VOA via Skype Tuesday officials are still getting details on the impact of the storm.

“At the moment, we still don’t have the full picture of the situation, but we agree with the assessment of the government that the disaster is of a dimension which is much, much bigger than we thought in the beginning,” he said. “This is due to the fact that information was coming in very slowly, because the city of Beira had been cut off of all communication lines and still is, and has also been cut off physically because the roads to Beira are destroyed.”

FILE - Drone footage shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in the settlement of Praia Nova, which sits on the edge of Beira, Mozambique, March 18, 2019.
Drone footage shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in the settlement of Praia Nova, which sits on the edge of Beira, Mozambique, March 18, 2019. VOA

​Timme says UNICEF is appealing to international donors for more than $20 million to support its response in the three affected countries.

“We are at the same time actually preparing to supply people with the most urgent things. What is very important in such situations is the supply of safe drinking water, so we will be supplying water purification pills.”

South Africa sent a military force to Mozambique to help with the rescue and recovery. International relations spokesman, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, tells VOA South Africa will try to do more.

“We have also called on South African companies to donate for humanitarian assistance and following this morning’s assessment, we’ll make a further announcement for how we’ll assist going forward,” he said Tuesday.

In Zimbabwe, the death toll stood at 98 Tuesday. One local government official says bodies from Zambia have been flowing on the river into neighboring Mozambique.

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Malawi’s government put the death toll in that country at 56 with nearly 600 people suffering from storm-related injuries.

The European Union announced Tuesday it is sending an initial $4 million in aid to the three devastated countries. Britain has also pledged a separate aid package and the U.S. embassy in Zimbabwe said it is “mobilizing to provide support,” without giving any details. (VOA)