Amphan: First Situation Report from Sunderbans

This is a summary of a situation report prepared by long-time AID partner Baikunthapur Tarun Sangha (BTS), which can be accessed in full here

Brief Assessment Report on Amphan Cyclone – 2020 in Sundarban

Name of the Organization: Baikunthapur Tarun Sangha, Based at Kultali, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal. 

Overall losses and damages in South 24 Parganas district: Massive devastation and damages happened throughout South Bengal. As per the information of the government 80 people died in the state during the cyclone. The following damages happened in South 24 Parganas district: 

  • No. of people died: 17
  • No. of people badly affected: 73 lakhs (7.3 million) 
  • No. of Houses damaged: 10 lakhs (1 million) 
  • Length of River Embankment breached: 56 km 
  • No. of Electric Posts Broken: 41,000 
  • Area of agriculture crops damaged: 120,000 acres 
  • Beetle Leaves Vines damaged (No. of plots): 35,000 
  • Pond water salinized: Uncountable 
  • Mangrove Forest destroyed: Huge 
  • No. of trees fallen: Uncountable

Assessment Area: BTS volunteers conducted their own assessment in their field area of 3 blocks in Sundarban -Kultali, Patharpratima, Basanti in South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. In this area they assessed 8 Gram Panchayats, 27 villages and about 4800 families. The overall summary is as follows (see detailed report for individual summaries):

  • No. of Households affected: 4,800
  • No. of people affected: 180,000
  • No. of people died: 4
  • No. of Houses damaged: 2100
  • Length of River Embankment breached: 15 Kilometers in 11 villages
  • Area of standing agriculture crops damaged: 3700 bighas (around 950 hectares)
  • Betel leaf vines damaged: (No. of plots) 218
  • Ponds with water salinized: 530 ponds in 13 villages
  • Mangrove Forest destroyed: Huge
  • No. of trees fallen both community plantation and households plantation: Uncountable
  • No. of cows died: 100
  • No. of goats died: 260

Overall qualitative observations:

  • Mostly all mud wall based kaccha houses fully destroyed and all stocks of paddy, rice and other family assets also damaged.
  • Those families who accessed house building under PMAY with tin or asbestos sheds have seen the sheds destroyed.
  • Drinking water is one of the major problems as many of the tube wells (hand pumps) are under saline water.
  • The cattle and goats have died due to damage of cowsheds.
  • Huge numbers of domestic fowls like poultry birds and ducks have died.
  • Saline water has inundated the villages by breaching river embankments in Kultali, Patharpratima and Basanti due to overflowing of water and weak embankments. This resulted in around 1000 hectares of productive agricultural land inundated by saline water.
  • Sweet water fish ponds are also salinized by inflow of brackish water and all fishes have died and become sources of environmental pollution.
  • Mostly all trees both big and small have broken and fallen.
  • Huge numbers of electric posts are damaged and there is no electricity till date. It will take more than two weeks to connect electricity in some villages.
  • All mobile phone networks and other means of communication are out of order.
  • Many school going children lost their books, school bags and other teaching materials.

BTS has initiated relief and rehabilitation measures in these blocks. Details of the relief plan in the short, medium and long term can be found in the report attached above.

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