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Cyclone makes landfall ravaging southwestern Bangladesh coast

10 Nov 2019, 16:20


As the cyclone “Bulbul” entered Bangladesh with an intensified fury, four people were reportedly killed in expected predawn landfall today wrecking havoc in the southwestern coastlines alongside India’s West Bengal, after more than two million people were forced to take refuge in makeshift shelters overnight in Bangladesh.

“Four people were killed in different coastal districts as cyclone ‘Bulbul’ lashed Bangladesh coastlines early today” Secretary of the Relief and Disaster Management Ministry Md Shah Kamal told BSS.

Of the deceased, two people were killed in Khulna, one in Patuakhali and one in Bagerhat, he added.

The cyclonic storm triggered landfall, rainfalls and tree falls and damaged houses and infrastructures in the coastal regions, prompting the authorities to advise people in vulnerable areas to stay indoors.

The loss of human lives could be prevented due to the preparedness and evacuation of people along with their valuables, including cattle, said disaster management officials.

The met office earlier yesterday issued its highest “great signal numbers” 10 and nine for the southwestern and southeastern coastlines prompting authorities to launch a massive evacuation campaign when volunteers alongside police and firemen used loudspeakers to ask people to move to shelters.

The authorities have taken contingency and made adequate arrangements in place to deal with possible destruction in the coastal areas.

Bangladesh’s Meteorological Department in a special bulletin this morning said the cyclone “weakened” and “started crossing” India’s West Bengal and Bangladesh’s southwestern Khulna coast at about 9:00 pm (1500 GMT).

The met office, however, lowered the signal issuing local warning signal no three this morning.

The cyclonic storm ‘bulbul’ over Khulna and adjoining northwestern part of Bangladesh moved slowly to northeastwards, weakened further into a deep depression and lies over Bagerhat, Barishal and Patuakhali regions at around 6 am this morning.

It is likely to move in a northeasterly direction further and weaken gradually by giving precipitation. Under its influence steep pressure gradient persists over north bay and southern part of Bangladesh, said a Met office release.

Maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been advised to lower great danger signal no. ten (r) but instead hoist local cautionary signal number three (r) three.

Maritime port of Chattogram has been advised to lower great danger signal no. nine but instead hoist local cautionary signal number three (r) three.

Maritime port of Cox’s bazar has been advised to lower local warning signal number four but instead hoist local cautionary signal number three (r) three.

Under the influence of the deep depression, the coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Borguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagerhat, Faridpur, Madaripur, Cumilla, Dhaka, Sylhet and Mymensingh are likely to experience wind of 50-60 kph in gusts/squalls with heavy to very heavy falls during the passage of the deep depression.

All fishing boats and trawlers over north bay have been advised to remain in shelter till evening today.

Shah Kamal said they initially planned to move 14 lakh people to 5,000 cyclone shelters but by midnight yesterday the figure rose to over 21 lakh.

The cyclone was packing winds of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 130 kph (80 mph) while its emergence coinciding with the moon phase or full moon, which inflates sea waters, raised fears about the extent of catastrophe. But meteorologists said the damage was less than expected as its landfall came during the low tide early in the morning instead of midnight when the Bangladesh cost witnessed high tide.

“Much of its intensity was lost largely by the time it reached Bangladesh after ravaging West Bengal coastlines,” a met office spokesman said.

The Sundarbans has protected coastal districts of Bangladesh from the wrathof the tropical cyclone, “DrAbulKalam Mallik, an official of Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) told BSS.

“The mangrove forest has actedas a buffer to save coastlines of the country. Otherwise costal districtswould have been severely affected by the cyclone Bulbul,” he added.

After completing crossing West Bengal-Khulna coast (near Sundarbans), theforward peripheral of the cyclone hit Bangladesh coastlines at around 5 am thismorning, Mallik said. The wind velocity of the cyclone varies in different coastal districtsduring its crossing, he said.

Under the influence of the cyclonic storm, the costal districtsare experiencing heavy rainfall inundating low-lying areas, the met officialsaid, adding other parts of the country may witness rainfall until thecrossing of storm is completed.

Bulbul slammed ashore near India’s Sagar Island and approached world’s largest mangrove forest the Sundarbans in Bangladesh’s southwestern Khulna region, bordering India. Military and navy were earlier ordered to stand by the local administrations with their full strength while the boat and ferry movements in internal riverine routes and coastal waters and air traffic operations near coastal airports were completely stopped for nearly 24 hours.

Authorities also suspended all activities in the country’s seaports, including in Chattogram Port, which handles almost 80 percent of Bangladesh’s exports and imports. According to US-based AccuWeather Inc., Bulbul strengthened from a deep depression into a tropical cyclone on Thursday morning, and by Friday afternoon had strengthened into a :very severe cyclone”.