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Cyclone Aila hits Bengal, 19 killed

Cyclone Aila made a landfall in West Bengal on Monday, killing 19 people, affecting over a lakh and leaving behind a trail of destruction before gradually weakening.

“The cyclone, now lying stationery 50 km west of Kolkata, hit the West Bengal coast at 1.30 pm near Sagar Island. It is moving in a northerly direction and will weaken gradually,” Regional Meteorological Centre Director G C Debnath said tonight
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“Rains, however, will continue throughout tomorrow,” he said.

A severe storm with a wind speed of 110 kmph accompanied by heavy rainfall preceded the cyclone that had formed in the Bay of Bengal from a very deep depression last night.

It ripped through Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan and East Midnapore districts at 110 kmph, killing at least 19 people and affected a population of 1.10 lakh, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Finance Minister Ashim Dasgupta told newsmen here.

Unofficial reports, however, put the toll at 26 and the number of affected at over two lakh.

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