The UN's children agency UNICEF warned on Wednesday that at least 19 million children in India and Bangladesh are at "imminent risk". This is due to flash flooding and heavy rain when Cyclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal.
West Bengal, home to more than 50 million people, including over 16 million children, is expected to take a direct hit from the powerful storm.
UNICEF is prepositioning life-saving water, sanitation, hygiene and medical supplies for children and families as Cyclone Amphan makes landfall in Bangladesh and India.https://t.co/bX0LLpmlC1— UNICEF (@UNICEF) May 20, 2020
According to reports, Amphan cyclonic storm made landfall between Digha of West Bengal and Hatiya Islands of Bangladesh on Wednesday which led to severe destruction. This led to three deaths in India and seven in Bangladesh.
Visuals from Kolkata airport after cyclone Amphan pic.twitter.com/Cy5ze0YiYw— Meghna Sen (@senmeghna) May 21, 2020
The children's agency also added that Covid-19 could deepen the humanitarian consequences of Cyclone Amphan in both countries. People who have moved to crowded temporary shelters would also be more vulnerable to coronavirus and several other infections and diseases. The UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia stated,
We continue to monitor the situation closely. The safety of children and their families in the areas that will be impacted is a priority and it is good to see that the authorities have planned their urgent response factoring in the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
UNICEF is working closely with the government of India and Bangladesh. The agency is trying to support children and families in the country during this crisis. They are mobilising more than 1,700 mobile health teams and preparing for emergency food deliveries.
The agency is distributing personal protective equipment, disinfectants and other materials to evacuation shelters. To reduce the person-to-person contact during this time, e-cash distributions are being used.
Termed as one of the worst tropical storms in decades, Cylone Amphan has destroyed thousands of houses, disrupted lives.