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Friday, June 18, 2021

Farmers, beach hotels count their losses from Yaas: ‘Sea engulfed everything I had’

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will visit Digha and North and South 24 Parganas on Friday to assess the extent of the damage.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury |
Updated: May 28, 2021 4:03:22 am
Cyclone yaas West bengalAt Shankarpur village in Purba Medinipur, Thursday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

TWELVE hours after Cyclone Yaas made landfall, villages in the coastal town of Shankarpur in Purba Medinipur district continued to be flooded, with large waves leaving the embankment broken. The road parallel to the seashore was washed away and salt water inundated agricultural land.

“I am ruined. All my land is under water. The sea engulfed everything I had,” Umakanta Jana, 67, a resident of Jamra Shyampur village in Shankarpur, said.

“I have seen many cyclonic storms but never with such a surge in the water level,” said Gour Pada Jana (59).
The road that leads to Lachimpur Primary School where villagers took shelter is also under water now.

“I had to use my boat to ferry my family members to the school. Our hut is flooded and can collapse at any moment. We don’t know how long we will remain in the relief camp,” said Shantiram Mondal (53), a fisherman.

Cyclone Yaas, which made its landfall near Dhamra port in Odisha, barrelled through the state and neighbouring West Bengal on Wednesday, causing widespread destruction as it hollered on its path to Jharkhand.

Also counting their losses are the hotels and resorts located near the Digha beach, with water entering their premises. The beautification of the sea front now lies completely ruined.

Villagers put sandbags on embankments Thursday to hold back the water, with repairs hindered due to continuous rain. In Mandarmani, a policeman said, “We have to wait till low tide to start repairs.”

At Kadupara village in Sunderbans area of South 24 Parganas, water has risen to waist level, forcing people to step out of their homes with children in tow.

“No one from the administration has visited us yet… I am starving, these children are starving,” Lakshmi Majhi, a resident of Kadupara village said, as she stood on the flooded courtyard outside her house with her three children.
Majhi further said, “We were asked by the administration to rush to nearby school camp. But how can we go? It will take me 30 minutes to reach the camp. How will I wade through the flooded roads with my children, leaving my home and belongings behind?”

In cyclone-ravaged Kultali, villagers were seen lining up on the elevated pavements, most of them without masks, even as water levels kept rising due to the incessant rainfall.

“Saline water from the sea gushed in, breaching the embankments, and destroyed crops that we had taken pains to grow. Almost every villager in the area depends on fishing and farming. With ponds and farmlands flooded with saline water, residents here are now staring at an uncertain future,” one of the villagers lamented.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will visit Digha and North and South 24 Parganas on Friday to assess the extent of the damage.

With PTI Inputs

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