Howrah (West Bengal) , Nov 14 : Nine people have lost their lives while more than 15 lakh hectares of agricultural land and five lakh houses have been destroyed due to cyclone Bulbul that caused widespread damage to West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday.
"More than 15 lakh hectares of agricultural land has been destroyed. Standing crops have been destroyed. Six lakh families have been affected due to the cyclone. Five lakh houses have been destroyed. There is water-logging in several places. The free movement of the people has been affected," Banerjee told reporters at state secretariat 'Nabanna' after chairing a high-level meeting to assess the damage caused by Bulbul.
Before the onset of the cyclone, we rescued nearly 15 lakh people. So far, nine people have died. Out of nine people, five casualties were reported in North 24 Parganas, three casualties in South 24 Parganas and one person died in Midnapore. We are working to restore normalcy in the affected areas," she added.
The Chief Minister said she has asked the central government to send teams to visit the cyclone-affected areas of the state and said that relief efforts are underway.
"10 lakh water packets have been given to the people. We have distributed cheques to the affected families. Food provisions and blankets will be provided in the coming days. It was a very severe cyclone. Saving the lives of people was our priority," Banerjee remarked.
She said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to her regarding the cyclone and said that all help would be extended.
The TMC supremo also said she has directed the state education department to give books to students appearing for exams in the cyclone-hit areas and said that all houses damaged during the calamity would be rebuilt under the government's housing scheme.
Earlier on Monday, Banerjee conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by cyclone Bulbul that wreaked havoc in the state over the weekend.
According to the West Bengal's Department of Disaster Management and Civil Defence, extensive damage to Sunderbans forests has been reported and a detailed assessment is being done.
The severe cyclonic storm Bulbul had ravaged South 24 Parganas region in the state on November 10. Due to high-speed powerful winds, several trees were uprooted and roads were blocked forcing the administration to carry out road clearance work.
The cyclone made landfall on the night of November 9 night, around 60 kilometres east of Sagar Island and 100 kilometres south of Kolkata and left a trail of destruction in neighbouring Odisha and Bangladesh.
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