Storm surges inundated dozens of towns in eastern India on Wednesday after a powerful cyclone moved inland from the Bay of Bengal, causing damage to thousands of mud homes in 2 coastal states and leaving at least one person dead, according to officials.
Cyclone Yaas was packing gusts of up to 140 kph (87 mph) as it made landfall, days after another storm tore up the western coast, which prompted mass evacuations and piled strains on authorities battling a deadly second wave of COVID-19.
Over a million inhabitants had been moved out of the storm’s path and the busiest regional airport, in the city of Kolkata, had been closed until Wednesday evening, authorities said.
They also noted that 46 villages along the coast had been flooded in the eastern state of Odisha’s Balasore district, where the storm struck early on Wednesday.
K. Sudarshan Chakravarthy, the district’s top government official, told Reuters that “most of the villages were empty. The total population would be around 10,000.”
In neighboring West Bengal state, rising waters breached river embankments in over 100 locations and 20,000 traditional mud homes had been damaged, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters.
“A large number of villages are under water,” Banerjee said, adding that at least one person had perished in the state after a house collapsed.