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Dhaka Saturday,  Jun 15, 2024

Cyclone Remal Hits Bangladesh Coast

DHAKA, May 26, 2024 (BSS) 

A severe cyclone called ‘Remal’ started crossing coastal regions of Bangladesh packing winds up to 120 kilometres per hour tonight while authorities managed to evacuate over 800,000 people to safety.

“The cyclone has made the landfall and started crossing our Khepupara alongside India’s West Bengal coasts,” a met office spokesman told BSS.

He added that the storm approached from Bangladesh’s southwestern coastlines and West Bengal’s Sagar Island and was proceeding towards northern direction and was “likely to cross the coastlines in next five to seven hours”.

 Police said a heavily laden ferry carrying more than 50 passengers, double its capacity sank near Mongla Port, the path of the storm as people were fleeing to safety but the people were rescued some with wounds. Red Crescent volunteers joined hands with government officials, police and fire service to alert and motivate people to move to safe shelters.

According to Bangladesh Meteorology Department (BMD), Remal is expected to reach maximum wind speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph), with gusts up to 135 kph (85 mph) hitting West Bengal’s Sagar Island and Bangladesh’s Khepupara region tonight.

The BMD, however, recorded so far maximum wind speeds of 90 kilometres (56 miles) per hour but feared the wind speed might pick up more pace. “The storm alongside the high tide turned terrifying,” a district administration official in charge of a makeshift control room in Patuakhali told BSS by phone.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Mohibur Rahman today said over eight lakh people were evacuated to cyclone centres and other safer places to protect them from the cyclone.

“We have taken all necessary measures on an urgent basis to tackle the severe cyclonic storm . . . all relevant organizations have been asked to work in a coordinated manner to face the cyclone,” he made the comments at a press briefing held at his ministry here.

He said the authorities today launched an intensified evacuation campaign to take all vulnerable people to safety as the met office asked Payra and Mongla ports to hoist great danger signal no 10 while it issued nine for Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram ports this morning. “Alongside evacuation of the people, domestic animals have been taken to designated cyclone shelters,” Director General of Department of Disaster Management Mizanur Rahman told BSS. “A total of 8,464 cyclone shelters, including Mujib Kella, were kept ready to provide refuge to the people living in 19 costal districts,” he said adding Sufficient amount of food have been stocked for the people living in the cyclone centres alongside the people of 19 coastal districts.

He said all upazila and district administrations have adequate amount of cash to provide prompt response to the people who will be affected by the cyclone. “We have also kept ready 1,185 medical teams to offer urgent healthcare supports to the people as cyclone Remal may hit the costal belts of Bangladesh with massive strength,” the disaster management chief said.

The Disaster Management and Relief Ministry sources said a total of 78,000 volunteers from the Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) have been kept ready to deal with cyclone ‘Remal’ in the coastal district. It added some 8,600 Red Crescent volunteers and others joined a campaign asking people at risk to move to safety alongside the government officials while the district administration mobilized transport to carry them to the cyclone shelters.

Senior BMD meteorologist Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik shortly before the landfall said the cyclone could unleash a storm surge of up to 12 feet (four metres) above normal astronomical tide.

He said the high tide was “dangerous” for human lives and vulnerable infrastructures as low-lying deltaic Bangladesh coasts are just one or two metres above sea level and high storm surges can devastate villages.

Meteorologists earlier warned the severe storm could uproot trees and cause major damage to thatched homes and disrupt power and communication systems. The BMD overnight issued the “great danger signal” no 10 in a scale of 10 for southwestern greater Barishal and its shoals and “great danger signal” no nine for the southeastern coastlines including the port city of Chattogram.

The coast crossing severe cyclonic storm Remal over northwest Bay and adjoining area moved slightly northwards and still crossing the West-Bangal and Khepupara coast near Southwest Mongla. The severe cyclonic storm may complete crossing the coast by next three to four hours, a latest weather bulletin of the BMD said.

Maximum sustained wind speed within 64 km of the severe cyclone centre is about 90 kph rising to 120 kph in gusts/squalls. Maritime ports of Payra and Mongla have been advised to keep hoisted great danger signal no 10. Coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagherhat, Pirojpur, Jhalokhati, Borguna, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali and their offshore islands and chars will come under great danger signal ten. Maritime port of Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram have been advised to keep hoisted great danger signal no nine.

The coastal district of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Feni, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars will come under great danger signal no nine.

River ports of the districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagherhat, Pirojpur, Jhalokhati, Borguna, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar have been advised to lower riverine danger signal no three but instead hoist riverine great danger signal no four.

Under the peripheral effect of the severe cyclone and steep pressure gradient, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagherhat, Pirojpur Jhalokhati, Borguna, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by wind driven surge of 08-12 feet height above normal astronomical tide. Under the influence of the cyclone Rajshahi, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Dhaka, Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram And Sylhet divisions are likely to be experienced of heavy (44-88 mm) to very heavy rainfall (289 mm) with gusty/squally wind due to very heavy rainfall.

Landslide may occur at places over the hilly regions of Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Chattogram. All fishing boats and trawllers over North Bay and deep sea have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice.

Cyclone-prone Bangladesh designed most schools in coastal regions as cyclone shelters alongside constructing dedicated structures to enable people to take refuge during surges and many of these multi-storey facilities have space for sheltering cattle as well.

Bangladeshi authorities suspended loading and unloading in the country’s largest main seaport in Chattogram and moved more than a dozen ships from the jetties to the deep sea as a precaution alongside suspending airport operations in coastlines.

 

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