31 May 2020

Cyclone Amphan crosses coast; four deaths reported

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Four deaths were reported from three districts after cyclone ‘Amphan’ battered the coastal region with wind speed of 160-180 kph at its centre on Wednesday evening.

Bangladesh had moved hundreds of thousands of people as the super cyclone approached to minimise loss of lives. But the outbreak of highly contagious coronavirus made evacuation and keeping people at the shelters more complex.

The maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been advised to hoist great danger signal number 10 while Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar were told to hoist great danger signal number 9.

Cyclone Amphan is the first super cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999.

In a special bulletin, the Met Office said the cyclone was located in the Sundarbans region around 6am and was expected to cross the coast within the next three to four hours.

The maximum sustained wind speed within 74 kms of the cyclone centre is about 160 kph rising to 180 kph in gusts/squalls.

Meanwhile, the Met Office said low-lying areas of the coastal districts of the coastal areas could be inundated by storm surge of 10-15 feet height above the normal astronomical tide.

The vulnerable areas are – Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakati, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram and their offshore islands and chars.

UNB’s Khulna correspondent said the cyclone started battering the district in the evening with high wind and heavy rainfall. The cyclone has badly damaged parts of Sundarbans, according to CNN.

Deaths

Meanwhile, UNB correspondents reported deaths of four people, including a child, in Patuakhali, Pirojpur and Bhola districts.

In Patuakhali, a worker of Cyclone Preparation Programme drowned while conducting an awareness campaign on Nanda canal in Kalapara upazila.   

Later, the body of Shah Alam Mir was recovered from the canal in the afternoon, said Upazila Nirbahi Officer Abu Hasnat Md Shahidul Haque.

In Galachipa upazila, a child along with his family was rushing towards a nearby shelter amid strong wind when a tree branch fell on Rashed’s head, killing him on the spot at Panpotti.

Officer-in-Charge of Galachipa Police Station Mostafizur Rahman confirmed the matter.

In Pirojpur, 55-year-old Mozibur Rahman died after the wall of his house caved in on him at Mathbaria amid storm in the evening, said Additional Superintendent of Police Molla Azad Hossain.

In Bhola, a trawler with 13 people on board capsized in Meghna River at Lakshmipur Maju pantoon due to strong current amid the storm, killing one Rafikul Islam.

Superintendent of Police Sarkar Mamtar said Rafikul was a resident of Borhanuddin upazila.

Warning for coastal districts

Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakati, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars will come under great danger signal number No 10.

Coastal districts of Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar and their offshore islands and chars will come under great danger signal number No 9.

Fourteen of these districts, except Cox’s Bazar, are likely to experience wind speed up to 140-160 kph in gusts/ squalls with heavy to very heavy falls during the passage of the cyclone.

All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay and deep sea have been advised to take shelter immediately and not to venture out until further notice.                             

Evacuation

The government has evacuated about 2.4 million people and 543,000 livestock to 14,636 shelter centres until Wednesday afternoon.

“Until Wednesday afternoon, 2,390,307 people and 517,432 livestock in 19 coastal districts were evacuated,” said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman.

Considering the intensity of the super cyclone ‘Amphan’, the shelter centres have been increased to 14,636, said Ali Reza Majid, additional secretary, Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.

Situation in Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira and Bhola

Local administrations have evacuated 400,000 people against the target of 1.7 million in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira until Wednesday noon.

“We’ve evacuated 400,000 people to 3,007 shelters in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira until noon,” said Hossain Ali Khandaker, additional divisional commissioner, Khulna Divisional control room.

In Bhola, about 316,000 people and 136,000 livestock were taken to shelter centres of Charfesson, Monpura and other remote islands, said Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Masud Alam.

Meanwhile, thousands of people were brought to main land from remote islands, the DC added. Over 7,000 people have been stuck in Kukri Char and Dhalchar while the roads in Dhalchar union have been inundated.


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