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Cyclone Amphan: Survivors return to face destruction left by storm

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Embankments have been washed away in Bangladesh

Millions of people across Bangladesh and north-eastern India are taking stock of the devastation left by Cyclone Amphan.

A massive clean-up operation has begun after the storm left 84 dead and flattened homes, uprooted trees and left cities without power.

In India, PM Narendra Modi will conduct an aerial survey of the affected area.

Authorities in both countries had evacuated millions of people before the storm struck.

Covid-19 and social-distancing measures made mass evacuations more difficult, with shelters unable to be used to full capacity.

Officials also said people were afraid and reluctant to move to shelters for fear of contracting the virus.

The cyclone arrived with winds gusting up to 185km/h (115mph) and waves as high as 15ft. It has now weakened as it moves north into Bhutan.

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Roads have been blocked by falling trees in Bangladesh

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Many people have been injured in wall collapses in Bengal

It is the first super cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999. Though its winds had weakened by the time it struck, it was still classified as a very severe cyclone.

Three districts in India’s West Bengal – South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore – were very badly hit.

In Bangladesh, there are reports of tens of thousands of homes damaged or destroyed and many villages submerged by storm surges in low-lying coastal areas like Khulna and Satkhira.

The affected areas include the Sunderbans, mangroves spread over an area of 10 square kilometres that spans both India and Bangladesh – the swampy islands are home to more than four million of the world’s poorest people.

Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, and one of India’s biggest cities has been devastated. Its roads are flooded and the city was without power for more than 14 hours.

The state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, said the devastation in Kolkata was „a bigger disaster than Covid-19“.

But assessment of the damage is being hampered by blocked roads and flooding in all these areas.

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