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Immediate renewal: Typhoon Amphan has lost millions in India and Bangladesh

Where is the storm? At present, Typhoon Amphan is in the Bay of Bengal, which is located in the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia all border with the Bay of Bengal. This region often gets strong storms during the rainy season, which usually occurs between June and September.

Where and when will it land? Amphan is expected to reach the coast in the Ganges Delta, the largest river delta in the world. This is a densely populated, low-lying area with a notoriously unreliable infrastructure, so meteorologists and governments in the region are worried that the typhoon could bring a very destructive storm surge after crashing.

How strong is the storm? It was the most powerful storm ever formed in the Bay of Bengal, but has weakened in the last few hours as it approaches the landing. Before weakening, Amphan became the second super typhoon to hit the Bay of Bengal since records began. During the latter, which struck in 1999, nearly 10,000 people killed.

How many people are in their lane? Possible tens of millions. Hundreds of millions of people live in the delta, but not all are in the direct path of the storm. The largest city threatened seems to be Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, which holds 14 million people. Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, is located further inland, and is unlikely to be hit as hard as the coastal region.

Are people being evacuated? More than 2 million people have been displaced in Bangladesh and around 400,000 have been evacuated in India, local officials said.

How about a pandemic? Covid-19 adds another layer of difficulties to disaster response authorities. One of the biggest concerns is staying alert to social distance, especially when considering how crowded evacuation centers can be. According to senior information official of the Bangladesh Ministry of Disaster Management Selim Hossain, there is a capacity of 9.1 million people to be placed in typhoon shelters while practicing social distance.

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