India, Bangladesh prepare to battle cyclone amidst pandemic woes

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As monsoon season begins to approach, India and Bangladesh are preparing for first storms of their season. Storms have become quiet frequent in both countries with last year India reporting multiple instances of torrential downpours resulting in massive flooding. Currently a cyclonic storm  is moving towards East of India and Bangladesh, for this reason Authorities have decided to evacuate villages that could be badly affected by the cyclone.

The cyclone in named Amphan and is expected to hit the Indian coast on Wednesday. To evacuate with social distancing is a challenge on its own. “We have just about six hours left to evacuate people from their homes and we also have to maintain social distancing norms, The cyclone could wash away thousands of huts and standing crops.”” a disaster management official, SG Rai, told Reuters.

Evacuees are placed in areas that were previously meant for quarantine during COVID-19. 1000’s of people are being shifted from Odisha and West Bengal. Trains are being shifted away from cyclones path.

On the other hand Bangladesh is also prepping as it is expected to be worst hit, the villages set up in the low lying areas are being shifted to higher grounds. This is the worst cyclone to hit Bangladesh in 15 years.

“We have taken necessary steps so that people can maintain distance and wear masks, adding that 12,000 cyclone shelters were set up to accommodate more than 5 million people.” ” said Enamur Rahman, the junior minister for disaster management.

“We are really very worried,” said Haiko Magtrayo, a worker of the International Committee of the Red Cross based in the nearby town of Cox’s Bazar. “There are no evacuation shelters in the camps and we are worried about damage from flooding, wind and risk of Covid-19,” she added. The cyclone has a wind speeds of up to 98 mph, could cause tidal waves and heavy rainfall which could unleash floods in low lying areas.  It is expected to hit land between the districts of Chittagong and Khulna, just 150 km (93 miles) from refugee camps housing more than a million Rohingya in flimsy shelters.

 

 

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