Cyclone Amphan, one of the worst storms in Bengal in 283 years, has left much of Kolkata without electricity, drinking water, or phone lines. The cyclone is estimated to have caused $13.2 billion in damage. Although, the army has sent troops to help with the aftermath of the cyclone, this comes after several days of negligence.
The Bay of Bengal, the world’s hotbed of tropical cyclones, was wiped through on Wednesday, leaving a trail of destruction with thousands of homes damaged, airports flooded and trees and electricity poles uprooted. Restoring drainage, electricity and water infrastructure were made a priority. After several days of protests in several parts of Kolkata and neighbouring districts over power and water problems, the Home Department finally announced it would deploy troops to immediately restore essential infrastructure and services.
Modi’s visit to affected districts was elaborately disguised as “an aerial survey” when in actuality it was more a “passing over”. In this time of government inaction, NGOs and other activist groups have organised to provide relief efforts to those worst hit by the cyclone and have been providing makeshift shelter. It is a new normal as organisation have been scrambling to find ways to offer relief within regulations of the nation-wide lockdown due to COVID-19.
There are also fears the storm will do large-scale damage to the Sundarbans forest reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site across the India and Bangladesh border, which is home to 96 protected tigers and other endangered species.
As with most consequences of climate change, we see that it is the poorest in society who are worst affected by the actions of the elite.