Updated May 21, 2020 - Science

At least 80 dead after Cyclone Amphan lashed India and Bangladesh

A woman stands amidst the debris of her house damaged by cyclone Amphan in Satkhira on May Thursdau. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP via Getty Images

Cyclone Amphan killed at least 80 people as of Thursday after torrential rains and powerful winds hit eastern India and Bangladesh earlier this week, per New York Times.

Details: Kolkata, one of India's biggest cities, is among the worst-hit areas, with more than 14 million people left without power, the BBC reports. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee described the situation as "more worrying than the coronavirus pandemic," per AFP. "Almost everything is destroyed in the coastal villages of the state," she said.

  • The storm was packing wind speeds of up to 115 miles per hour when it made landfall on Wednesday afternoon near Digha in the Indian state of West Bengal, per the India Meteorological Department. Forecasters expect "extensive damage" in West Bengal and Bangladesh's Hatiya Islands.
  • A 5-year-old boy and 75-year-old man struck by falling trees were among those killed by the cyclone in Bangladesh, as well as a volunteer who drowned, Washington Post reports.

The big picture: The World Meteorological Association notes the super cyclone was hitting densely populated areas at a time when coronavirus pandemic restrictions are "complicating disaster management."

Zoom in: Both countries have implemented strict lockdown measures in response to the pandemic amid soaring coronavirus cases. India, which extended its lockdown through the end of May, amended those guidelines on Wednesday to account for the storm.

  • Domestic air travel in India has been allowed to evacuate people stranded in the storm, a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson tweeted.
  • India has over 112,000 cases and 3,400 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, per Johns Hopkins. Bangladesh has more than 26,000 cases and 380 deaths from the virus.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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