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115mph cyclone leaves trail of destruction around Bay of Bengal

Deluged: Waterlogged trucks in a flooded area of Kolkata after Cyclone Amphan swept through PICTURE: EPA

THE most powerful cyclone to strike eastern India and Bangladesh in over a decade has killed more than 80 people, rescue officials said.

Thousands of homes were destroyed and millions left without power after Cyclone Amphan barrelled in with 115mph winds from the Bay of Bengal.

Rescue teams scoured devastated coastal villages yesterday, hampered by torn down power lines and widespread flooding.

The evacuation of around 3million people before the super cyclone struck is thought to have saved countless lives, but officials said the true toll is unlikely to be known until communications are restored.

In the Indian state of West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said yesterday at least 72 people had died — most of them either electrocuted or killed by uprooted trees.

The airport in Kolkata, West Bengal’s state capital, yesterday lay under water and several neighbourhoods in the city of 14million people had no electricity.

Television footage from the state showed upturned boats on the shore, crashed buses and villagers trying to lift fallen electricity poles.

The initial toll was ten in neighbouring Bangladesh.

‘I have never seen such a cyclone in my life. It seemed like the end of the world. All I could do was to pray,’ said Azgar Ali, 49, a resident of Satkhira district on the Bangladesh coast.