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Bangladesh: Cyclone Amphan affects 10 million people amid COVID-19

21 May 2020

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A girl stands in front of her damaged home after Cyclone Amphan destroyed her village in the south of Bangladesh. Credit: UNICEF Bangladesh/Aronno

Cyclone Amphan made landfall around 5 p.m. local time between India and Bangladesh, causing strong winds and heavy rain, damaging houses and crops, and cutting off power supply to cities and towns, many of which are working to contain COVID-19.

More than 3 million people have been evacuated to emergency shelters across India and Bangladesh.

Initial reports indicate that at least 72 people have been killed in India and 25 in Bangladesh.

After landfall, Amphan was downgraded to a tropical depression, but is still expected to bring heavy to moderate rain over the next 24 hours.

Preliminary reports indicate that about 10 million people in Bangladesh are impacted by the cyclone. Half a million families may have lost their homes, and 1 million are without power. Saline water intrusion is also expected to have a severe impact on livelihoods for the next two to three years.

The Government of Bangladesh evacuated nearly 2 million people and more than 12,000 cyclone shelters were made available with COVID-19 prevention measures, including masks, sanitizers, and handwashing facilities and soap.

Humanitarian partners and government authorities will conduct a rapid joint assessment of the damage. Key needs are likely to include emergency shelter assistance, water sanitation and hygiene and livelihood support.

An assessment of damage in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps is under way by humanitarian partners. Early reports indicate that damage is relatively minimal, although these assessments are ongoing.