NEW DELHI, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Three people were killed Wednesday after super cyclone Amphan battered India's eastern states of West Bengal and Odisha.
According to local media reports, two women and a man were killed after gusty winds uprooted trees in Howrah and North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal.
The super cyclone triggering winds of up to 190 kmph entered West Bengal accompanied with heavy rains, leaving a trail of destruction.
Officials said the cyclone after making landfall entered into human habitations blowing away makeshift houses, uprooting electric poles and trees.
"The very severe cyclonic storm lay centered at 7:30 p.m. (local time) today, over West Bengal near Latitude 22.6°N and Longitude 88.5°E, close to Kolkata. Super cyclone - Amphan crossed West Bengal - Bangladesh coasts as a very severe cyclonic storm with the speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph across Sunderban near Latitude 21.65°N and Longitude 88.3°E," reads information released in the bulletin by India Metrological Department (IMD).
Authorities said they have evacuated 658,000 people in West Bengal and Odisha ahead of the cyclone. Half a million people were evacuated in West Bengal, and over 158,000 were evacuated in Odisha.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief S N Pradhan told a press conference in New Delhi that 20 teams of rescuers have begun road clearing operations in Odisha, while in West Bengal the personnel were shifting people to safety.
Video footage telecast on television showed huge tidal waves crashing into beaches and coastline.
The cyclonic storm is likely to get weaker while crossing over Nadia and Murshidabad in West Bengal later on Wednesday night before entering Bangladesh.
Authorities have deployed 41 teams of NDRF in West Bengal and Odisha.
The severe cyclonic storm comes at a time when India is fighting COVID-19, which has affected 106,750 people in the country and killed 3,303.
Authorities have advised fishermen not to venture into north Bay of Bengal along and off West Bengal-Odisha coasts until Thursday.
Reports said cyclone Amphan is one of the worst storms over the Bay of Bengal in years. Enditem