India is preparing to evacuate more than a million people because a “super-cyclone” will hit the country this week.
Cyclone Amphan has strengthened to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 Atlantic hurricane, or a super typhoon in the West Pacific. It is gathering strength as it moves across the Bay of Bengal and is due to make landfall on Wednesday. It could cause significant damage. SN Pradhan, the director general of the Indian National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), said Amphan “will turn into a very severe cyclonic storm by this evening and continue to be so for some time.” The east Indian and Bangladesh coast are threatened with high winds, flooding and power outages.
More than 550 cyclone shelters have been prepared and 7,000 concrete buildings identified to house evacuees. With more than 90,000 reported cases of the virus and about 3,000 deaths, India was hit hard by the novel coronavirus. Indian authorities said Monday the country identified more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest number of cases identified in a single day. Lockdown was imposed across the country from 24 March. The need of social distancing complicated now housing arrangements for evacuees. In Bangladesh, the super-cyclone is expected to cause heavy rains and possible flooding in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, which are home to more than a million refugees.