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Millions in India and Bangladesh flee strongest cyclone in a decade

A tropical cyclone is blasting India and Bangladesh, killing at least 14 people and destroying homes by the hundred. The storm surged out of the Bay of Bengal Wednesday into a densely populated area that has been beset by the COVID-19 pandemic -- and the millions of people forced to flee their homes are taking refuge in crowded shelters where social distancing is impossible. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A tropical cyclone blasted India and Bangladesh, killing at least 14 people and destroying homes by the hundreds.

    The storm surged out of the Bay of Bengal into a densely populated region that's been beset by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Pounding India's Eastern coastline, the strongest cyclone in over a decade. Winds reached 100 miles per hour, knocking down trees and damaging metal roofs.

    Today in New Delhi, Indian officials said they are working to restore roads.

  • Satya Pradhan (through translator):

    All teams are on the ground. All teams are outside in the cyclone area.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In neighboring Bangladesh, riverbanks overflowed. Yesterday, local officials began mass evacuations.

  • Snigdha Chakraborty:

    Initially, they were not willing to evacuate, because they were weighing between the risk of cyclone, at the same time also the invisible risk of COVID-19.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Snigdha Chakraborty is the Bangladesh country director for Catholic Relief Services.

  • Snigdha Chakraborty:

    They do not have income. They do not have homes. They also lost their crop in the field.

    So, basically, it is a devastating situation and painful situation that they will have to live with now.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Nearly three million people have been evacuated from their homes, and are hunkering down in cramped evacuation centers, where social distancing is impossible.

    For thousands of Rohingya refugees in Southern Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, the only protection they have are plastic sheets to cover their homes. As heavy rain hit the refugee camp today, residents worked to prevent flooding.

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