Wednesday wasn't a regular day. Many in Kolkata, parts of West Bengal, Odisha and the neighbouring Bangladesh woke up to the fury of Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful cyclone to strike East India. Amphan is the worst cyclone India has seen in 100 years. The winds that gusted at 185km per hour juddered and pulled down trees, tore electric wires, overturned cars, crushed many homes and killed 85 people.
Amphan began hitting the Sundarbans before reaching north and north-eastwards towards Kolkata. Earlier today, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee said that the destruction caused by Amphan was "more than a national disaster".
"This is more than a national disaster. I have not seen such devastation in my life. It will take some time to restore normalcy... It's a catastrophic disaster. Our officials and ministers are all working. Police are also working tirelessly. We are fighting three challenges there is lockdown going on, then there is COVID-19, and now this disaster. The villages have been entirely devastated," she added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a relief package of Rs 500 crore for cyclone-hit Odisha. The announcement came soon after he undertook an aerial survey of the state to review the aftermath. The PM also announced an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore for West Bengal after he held an aerial survey.
This destruction has come when the country is already battling the deadly coronavirus. Our TV screens and social media feeds are filled with devastating images, videos and reports about the loss that these areas have gone through. A large part of West Bengal still remains cut off with power lines and communication towers damaged.
#CycloneAmphan— er_pr@veen (@p143_kumar) May 20, 2020
in this pandemic india is suffering frm very bad time.cycloneamphan is changed in to supersonic cyclone & it become very dangerous for udisha & kolkata.i know it is very bad time but we the people of india strongly stand with ours.hope corona and cyclone over soon. pic.twitter.com/LFzE97iFjB
Electric outage in Phool Bagan, Kolkata caused due to the cyclone. Please pray for the ones who are not fortunate enough to have proper shelter in these challenging times. #CycloneAmphan #CycloneAmphanUpdate #AmphanSuperCyclone #Amphan pic.twitter.com/Lx2FsOyc0e— Akshay (@TheAkshayBothra) May 20, 2020
In the midst of all this, help is needed from everywhere. People are stranded and are sharing gut-wrenching pleas for help. NGOs in India and from around the world are raising funds to help the cyclone-ravaged Bengal get back on track.
This one is a state government's official relief fund that is allowing donations for relief work. These funds will be disbursed through government officials and agencies only.
Quarantined Student-Youth Network has been helping people eat by providing cooked meals or necessary ration. "Over the last few days, we have tried to understand the situation by contacting residents of Sundarbans and West Medinipur, particularly those who live near dams or water bodies. The problems differ from area to area. The roofs of more (than) thousands (of) houses in a village have been blown away. In areas adjacent to water bodies, salt water has flooded agricultural land and ponds," reads the caption on their Instagram page.
Delhi's Goonj is a well-established non-profit organisation, and is accepting donations for their campaign 'Rahat Amphan'.
Jadavpur Commune is run by Jadavpur University students. Their community kitchen has also been helping migrant workers who are stranded owing to the lockdown because of the coronavirus crisis. You can check out the community here.
Here are the contact number of volunteers:
1) Hindol Mazumdar 8902712637
2) Sourav Sahoo 9051712203
3) Angana Kundu 9874829895
4) Anuska Paul 9123887617
5) Avik Das 8116454727
EA has been working in the Sundarbans for several years now and they are organising a relief programme for these areas. Transfer is only possible from Indian bank accounts here.
If we all donate even a little, we can make a huge difference in their lives.
Featured Image: Twitter