KOLKATA: Hundreds of people complained that they had to go without food and sleep in the aftermath of cyclone, which has wreaked havoc in Bengal, as their homes lay inundated amid heavy showers that continued to pummel several parts of the state on Thursday.
Cyclone ‘Yaas’, which made its landfall near Dhamra port in Odisha, barrelled through the neighbouring state and Bengal on Wednesday, causing widespread destruction as it hollered on its path to Jharkhand.
Officials said that the administration was trying its best to reach out to people in need, but the inclement weather is impeding relief work in certain pockets.
At Kadupara village in Sunderbans area of South 24 Parganas, water has risen to waist level, forcing people to step out of their homes with children in tow.
“No one from the administration has visited us yet…I am starving, these children are starving,” Lakshmi Majhi, a resident of Kadupara said, as she stood on the flooded courtyard outside her house with her three children.
Majhi further said, “We were asked by the administration to rush to nearby school camp. But how can we go? It will take me 30 minutes to reach the camp. How will I wade through the flooded roads with my children, leaving my home and belongings behind?” Bapan Laskar, a migrant worker of the same village, said he was finding it difficult to make ends meet in the midst of the lockdown, and the cyclone has added to his woes.
“I work as a mason in Kolkata, but the COVID-induced lockdown robbed me of my livelihood. This cyclone, on top of that, has partially damaged my home. I do not know what to do,” Laskar, who lives with his ailing parents, said.
In cyclone-ravaged Kultali, villagers were seen lining up on the elevated pavements, most of them without masks, even as water levels kept rising due to the incessant rainfall.
“Saline water from the sea gushed in, breaching the embankments, and destroyed crops that we had taken pains to grow. Almost every villager in the area depends on fishing and farming. With ponds and farmlands flooded with saline water, residents here are now staring at an uncertain future,” one of the villagers lamented.
Kultali MLA Ganesh Chandra Mondal, however, said that disaster management personnel have fanned out to the affected areas in South 24 Parganas to shift all marooned villagers to relief camps, set up in school buildings.
Similar tales of misery were shared by people in Purba Medinipur district, which, too, bore the brunt of the storm.
In the tourist town of Digha, one of the worst-affected areas in the state, shops selling knick-knacks close to the beach lay ravaged, with shells, junk jewelleries and other decorative items seen floating in the flood water.
Several hotels in Mandarmoni, another resort town, also suffered extensive damage.
In Shankarpur, roads in certain areas were reduced to patches of boulders with telltale signs of destruction around.
A Digha Development Authority official said work to repair damaged structures would begin in a day or two.
Mamoni Das of Ramnagar in Purba Medinipur broke down when reporters approached her.
Das, a middle-aged widow with no children, said she was rescued by Army personnel after the squall on Wednesday morning flattened her home in a trice.
“I am thriving on puffed rice that I managed to get from a nearby relief camp. With everything lost, I do not know how to rebuild my life,” she added.