Cyclone Amphan has stepped up to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or a super typhoon in the West Pacific. Amphan grabs winds at 150 mph (240 km / h), although forecasters expect the storm to weaken before it lands near the Ganges delta late Wednesday.
Even if the storm hits after weakening, it can cause significant damage. Amphan is expected to land near poor, densely populated areas with notoriously unreliable infrastructure. If it lands in the deep delta, there is also the potential for large storm surges, perhaps up to 9 meters high.
By Monday morning, Bangladesh had identified at least 22,268 Covid-1
Both countries have not yet slowed down their infection rates.
The Indian authorities announced on Monday that the country has identified more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. This is the highest number of cases identified in a single day since the pandemic started. According to the country’s Ministry of Health and Family Care, Bangladesh has registered 1,273 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Juggling two disasters will be difficult, especially if measures to save lives during a storm – such as setting up crowded evacuation centers – are difficult if social distancing measures are followed.
The Indian state of Odisha has put 12 coastal districts on alert, while neighboring West Bengal, which lies on the Indian border with Bangladesh, has triggered a cyclone alarm of more than 4.4 in its six coastal districts, including Kolkata, one of India’s most populous cities Million inhabitants.
SN Pradhan, director general of the Indian National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), said the authorities are sending 10 teams to Odisha and seven to West Bengal to begin the evacuation efforts. Twenty NDRF teams are on standby, said Pradhan.
The storm could also bring heavy rains to the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, where nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees live after fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
“The prevalence of underlying health conditions among refugees and the deteriorating sanitary conditions associated with the upcoming monsoon and flooding season are creating a witch-brew of conditions under which the virus will surely thrive,” said Daniel P. Sullivan, who works for the US-based organization Refugees International.
Michael Guy from CNN in Atlanta and Rishabh Madhavendra Pratap in New Delhi contributed to the reporting