As West Bengal reels under the effect of the devastating cyclone Amphan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore for the state. The announcement followed an aerial survey of the cyclone ravaged areas, two days after it hit Bengal and claimed 72 lives. He was accompanied by Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who also participated in review meetings with the PM.
"Rs. 1,000 crore advance assurance will be given to West Bengal," PM Modi said in Basirhat on North 24 Parganas district, after the aerial survey, reported NDTV. "All aspects relating to rehabilitation, reconstruction will be addressed. We all want West Bengal to move ahead. The Centre will always stand with West Bengal in these testing times. We will work together to ensure that Bengal stands on its feet again," he said.
Earlier, CM Banerjee had claimed that the state had suffered losses to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore. Addressing media at the Kolkata airport, the CM said, "This is more than a national disaster. I have not seen such devastation in my life. Sixty per cent of people have been affected in West Bengal. More than six crore have been directly affected. We are fighting three challenges -- there is lockdown, then there is COVID-19, and now this disaster. The villages have been entirely devastated.”
Also read: Cyclone Amphan Ravages West Bengal, Citizens Call for PM to Declare National Disaster
Meanwhile, the United Nations in a news report declared the Cyclone Amphan as more destructive than Cyclone Aila, which had hit southern Bangladesh and eastern India in 2009. Amphan had slammed the North and South 24 Parganas and state capital Kolkata for more than four hours on Wednesday during landfall, uprooting trees, knocking down electricity poles, damaging buildings and killing several people.
Neighbouring Odisha was also hit by the cyclone, with the government officials claiming that nearly 44 lakh people were affected in the state. Several political leaders have also extended their solidarity and help to the ravaged states. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Friday extending all help to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and CM Mamata Banerjee. Patnaik also assured his help to CM Banerjee and took stock of the extent of devastation.
PM Modi also announced Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those who died in the cyclone in Bengal and Rs 50,000 for the injured. He is to visit Odisha in the next leg of the situation to take stock of the situation in Odisha.