A severe cyclonic storm Amphan has hit the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh yesterday, causing massive destruction of the homes of millions of people besides uprooting trees and damaging much of the infrastructure.
Around 72 people have been reported dead in Bengal. Bengal took the brunt of Cyclone Amphan, which barreled into the coast with gusting winds of up to 185 KM (114 MPH) per hour. Cyclone Amphan is only the second "super cyclone" to form over the Bay of Bengal since records began, and the first since 1999. About 43 million people are exposed to the cyclone. Reports estimate that 3 million people have been evacuated before landfall in India and Bangladesh. Some people have been reluctant to move to emergency shelters for fear of infection from COVID-19.
At least, 18 people were killed in Bangladesh in Jashore, Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Bhola, Satkhira, Barguna, Jhenidah, and Chattogram districts. The Government estimates that the damage from Amphan is worth Tk 1,100 crore (approx.$1.27 Billion) with some 26 districts hit when the super cyclone wreaked havoc on the coast leaving. According to primary information, 17.6 lakh hectares (approx. 177 million) of crop yield damaged across the country.
This devasting cyclone adds to the severe hardships that the people of this region already going through on account of COVID-19 and the related lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus. Bangladesh has recorded 26,738 cases and 386 deaths and West Bengal has 3100 confirmed cases with 253 deaths.
Global Ministries partners CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action) and CCDB (Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh) are already providing services to the affected people in these two countries.
Compassionate Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by Cyclone Amphan in Bangladesh and India yesterday. We remember those who have lost their lives and their families so suddenly. Grant them comfort, courage, and strength. Bless those who have survived and heal their memories of trauma and devastation.
We ask your mercy on all those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Bless the work of relief agencies and those providing emergency assistance. May their work be guided by the grace and strength that comes from you alone.
Merciful God, as we pray for them, we also remember all others who are facing crises and disasters in many parts of the world. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of those affected, even after the crisis is over. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen