INDIA-WEATHER-CYCLONE

Cyclone Aila is the worst storm to hit Bengal in two decades.

In many areas, Aila has left behind a trail of devastation. The army is now working to rescue those stranded and helicopters are airdropping food packet in areas completely cut off. In Kolkata, life is slowly coming back to normal. It has not rained since Tuesday morning, roads are being cleared and flights have resumed.

“Situation is still very bad. Yesterday was a real disaster. Nearly 100-120 trees were uprooted on one stretch of road alone, blocking the entire way,” said Kalyan Chakravarthy, a local. But it is outside the capital, in North and South 24 Paraganas districts, where relief is desperately needed.

Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya was at the relief camps where thousands of people are homeless. “We are trying to do our best for those affected. We are distributing food and other essential commodities to them,” he said. But there are those who could not even make it to relief camps, stranded, hoping to be rescued. Sukumar Payra, a schoolteacher was waiting on a rooftop in Sunderban’s Bali island.

He said he along with 3,000 other people had been marooned, but rescue efforts have not reached the island. He said not a single boat had come to rescue them, or with any supplies. They had run out of food and drinking water. The worst might be over. But it will be some time before West Bengal recovers completely.

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