Cyclone Amphan had West Bengal and Odisha bracing for the Bay of Bengal’s fiercest air-swirler this century after it intensified to pack wind speeds of 270kmph. By the time it made landfall on Wednesday, it was gusting at about 160kmph, slower however nonetheless whipping these states’ coastal areas with its fury. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force had already moved about 500,000 folks to shelters in West Bengal, whereas one other 100,000 had been evacuated in Odisha. That the cyclone would depart a path of destruction was a foregone conclusion. It’s the human price that the nation has sought to reduce.
It’s all of the extra tragic that Amphan has struck at a time that coronavirus is roiling India. With folks crammed into makeshift camps, the specter of infections will get magnified. Thankfully, India didn’t ignore classes learnt from the 1999 super-cyclone that slammed Odisha and claimed hundreds of lives. The India Meteorological Department’s alert techniques have been correct this time, and precautions had been taken. Yet, all this solely serves to decrease the loss of life toll, not scale back it to zero—which must be our purpose.