Blackouts hit coastal districts hours before Cyclone Sitrang struck southern Bangladesh, while many areas lost telecom signals.
The cyclonic storm hit the coast on Monday evening as Dhaka and other districts are experiencing heavy rains along with gusty winds. Coastal areas recorded wind speeds of 70 kph around 8 pm, according to the Met Office.
The Rural Electrification Board’s district associations distribute power to the rural areas of the coastal districts, while West Zone Power Distribution Company serves the cities.
They said the power connections to some areas were damaged by fallen trees and the power cuts were enforced in other places as safety precautions.
WZPDCL Executive Director Md Mostafizur Rahman said power supply to Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur and Bagerhat districts was completely shut down as a precaution against the storm that damages power lines.
Cyclone Sitrang decimates power supply, telecom networks in coastal areas
REB Director (system operations) Rafiqul Islam said 30 of the 80 associations under rural networks shut power distribution. He mentioned that some utility poles were taken down by fallen trees, while the wires snapped in some areas, but no major damage was reported.
Meantime, long power outages decimated mobile network signals in some areas. Residents of Dhaka said they were unable to reach their relatives in the coastal areas.
Nusrat Jahan, who lives in Dhaka for her studies, failed to reach her parents in Patuakhali’s Bauphal. “The connection was breaking up when I was speaking to them in the evening. Now I can’t even reach them. The area loses mobile connections when there’s no power.”
Muntasir Mahmud Siam, a student of Dhaka’s Residential Model College, said he last spoke to his parents in Barguna’s Amtoli at 7 pm. His relatives who live near the coast of the Payra River were unreachable.
“I don’t know what will happen to them in case of a storm surge. I’ve been unable to reach my uncle and aunt since afternoon.”