At least 21 persons were killed and more than one lakh people hit as a cyclone spawned by a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal pounded large parts of West Bengal and coastal Orissa on Monday leaving a trail of devastation and crippling normal life in the two states.
However, the good news from the Met department is that cyclone Aila has started gradually weakening.
In neighbouring Bangladesh which is in the path of the cyclone, thousands of people were shifted to makeshift emergency shelters along the southwestern coastlines which were lashed by tidal surges damaging nearly a dozen of flood control structures like dams, marooning thousands others.
The highest number of 14 deaths in West Bengal was reported from South 24 Parganas district, followed by five in Kolkata and one each in Bankura and Howrah districts
"The cyclone, now lying stationery 50 km west of Kolkata, hit West Bengal coast at 1:30 pm near Sagar Island. It is moving in a northerly direction and will weaken gradually, Regional Meteorological Centre Director G C Debnath, told PTI tonight.
"Rains, however, will continue throughout tomorrow," he said.
A severe storm with a windspeed of 110 kmph, accompanied by heavy rainfall, preceded the cyclone ripping through Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan and East Midnapore districts at 110 kmph.
Unofficial reports, however, put the toll at 26 and the number of affected at over two lakh.
The army moved into Sandeshkhali and Hingalganj in North 24 Parganas and Gosaba, Patharpratima and Sagardwip areas in South 24 Parganas districts.
The BSF would rescue people marooned by heavy rains at Sandeshkhali tomorrow morning.
However, the cyclone was moving away from Kolkata and weakening.
"The cyclone, now lying stationery 50 km west of Kolkata, hit the West Bengal coast at 1:30 pm near Sagar Island. It is moving in a northerly direction and will weaken gradually, Regional Meteorological Centre Director G C Debnath told PTI tonight.
"Rains, however, will continue throughout tomorrow,"he said.
A severe storm with a windspeed of 110 kmph accompanied by heavy rainfall preceded the cyclone that had formed in the Bay of Bengal from a very deep depression last night.
It ripped through Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan and East Midnapore districts at 110 kmph, killing at least nineteen persons and affected a population of 1.10 lakh, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Finance minister Ashim Dasgupta told newsmen in Kolkata.
Incessant rains, accompanied by a strong wind reaching 100 to 120 kmph, hit Kolkata and all flights, including international ones at the N S C Bose international airport were suspended from 2 pm.
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