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Indian PM announces $131.6m as immediate relief for cyclone Amphan-hit West Bengal

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-22 21:47

Residents carry tin sheets salvaged from the rubble of a damaged house in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, in South 24 Parganas district in the eastern state of West Bengal, India, May 22, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday afternoon financial assistance of $131.6 million as immediate relief for eastern state of West Bengal after he undertook an aerial survey of the areas battered by severe cyclonic storm Amphan.

The storm, according to officials, has killed at least 80 people.

"Prime Minister announced financial assistance of INR 1,000 crore ($131.6 million), for immediate relief activities, to the state of West Bengal," read a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). "After receiving memorandum of assistance from the state, the union (federal) government will deploy an inter-ministerial team to visit the state to assess the extent of damage in the state, based on which further assistance will be given."

Earlier in the morning, Modi reached Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. From there he along with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee undertook an aerial survey of some of the worst-affected parts of the state.

The cyclonic storm triggering gusty winds up to 190 kmph and rain battered West Bengal and coastal Odisha on Wednesday evening, flattened makeshift houses, uprooted electric poles and trees.

West Bengal was the worst hit in the cyclone as gusty winds swept through several parts, including capital Kolkata, leaving behind a trail of destruction, with thousands of homes damaged, and trees and electric poles uprooted.

Modi also announced $2,632 for each family that lost member in the cyclone and $658 for each injured.

Banerjee on Thursday asked the prime minister to visit the state and inspect the damage, which she said was around $13.20 billion.

Modi will also visit adjacent Odisha, where also he is scheduled to undertake an aerial survey. The cyclone also caused widespread devastation in Odisha, damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts.

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