Recovery begins after cyclone Amphan ravages India, Bangladesh coast

Residents clear a tree that fell on electric lines after the landfall of cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, in Kolkata on May 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 22 May 2020

Recovery begins after cyclone Amphan ravages India, Bangladesh coast

  • Amphan hit land Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade

NEW DELHI: India authorities on Friday began assessing damage and clearing roads in the wake of Cyclone Amphan that killed more than 90 people and left millions displaced after barreling through the coastal communities of eastern India and neighboring Bangladesh.
In West Bengal state, which bore the brunt of the storm that caused extensive flooding in its capital Kolkata, police and teams from India’s national disaster response force removed fallen trees and other debris, repaired communication lines and started getting hundreds of thousands of people out of shelters.
Amphan hit land Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, dumping heavy rain amid a battering storm surge.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the cyclone must be treated as a national disaster. She also pitched for monetary assistance from the federal government after receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Kolkata airport.
The two later conducted an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas of the state. It was Modi’s first trip outside the national capital after a coronavirus lockdown was imposed in late March.
Modi promised Thursday that “no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”
In an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh said the cyclone caused about $130 million in damage to infrastructure, housing, fisheries, livestock, water resources and agriculture. The full extent of the damage along India’s eastern coast was not immediately known.
Authorities in both countries managed to evacuate more than 3 million people before Amphan struck.
At least 80 people were killed in West Bengal state, and two more deaths were reported in neighboring Odisha state. Bangladesh reported 13 deaths.


India begins examination of plane’s black box after deadly crash

Updated 12 min 15 sec ago

India begins examination of plane’s black box after deadly crash

  • Air India Express plane overshot runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain
  • Company to pay compensation to the families of the deceased

NEW DELHI: Indian investigators on Sunday began examining the black box of a Boeing-737 that overshot a runway on its second attempt, killing 18 people in the country’s worst aviation accident in a decade.
The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday.
The aircraft fell into a valley and broke in half.
In an interview with Reuters partner ANI on Sunday, Anil Kumar, head of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said the country would open the recovered transcripts to international investigators, as well as manufacturer Boeing.
“Only after conducting a thorough and unbiased probe, can we tell what exactly happened,” Kumar said.
The 2,700-meter runway at the airport is known as a “table-top,” an aviation term for runways with steep drops at one or both ends.
They leave little room for error should a pilot overshoot the runway, either through human error or mechanical failure.
Late on Saturday, Kumar told CNN-News18 in an interview that the pilot made an aborted landing attempt into a headwind and then made a second approach with a tail wind, landing 1,000 meters down the runway.
An air traffic control official familiar with the crash confirmed this version of events, adding it is unusual to attempt a landing at the airport with a tailwind, which is typically used for takeoffs.
“The length of the runway in Calicut is around 2,700 meters and the plane touched the ground after crossing 1,000 meters of the length, leaving less room to bring the aircraft to a halt,” the official, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media, said.
“It was windy and rainy and the runway surface was wet. In such instances the weather is dynamic.”
“An aircraft typically lands and departs in a headwind as a tailwind increases the plane’s speed.”
A spokesman for Air India did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has already said it will pay compensation to the families of the deceased.