Save the Children is particularly concerned about the threat posed by Cyclone Amphan to millions of children and their families in low-lying coastal areas where a storm surge and flooding could devastate communities already coping with COVID-19.
The cyclone, which briefly reached a Category Five “super cyclone” status on Tuesday while tracking north across the Bay of Bengal, is expected to make landfall in India’s eastern state of Odisha overnight Wednesday.
More than 33 million people in India could be exposed to the high winds of Cyclone Amphan, according to the US Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), while more than 5 million could be affected in Bangladesh.
Heavy rainfall is expected, while low-lying coastal areas will be at risk of a storm surge up to 2.2 meters, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS).
Evacuation efforts have been complicated by COVID-19, with many evacuation centres already being used as isolation and quarantine facilities, while social distancing will be the last thing on people’s minds as they try to save themselves.