Published: Sun, November 10, 2019

Hundreds of thousands evacuated as cyclone hits Bangladesh

Hundreds of thousands evacuated as cyclone hits Bangladesh

According to the NREC, about 2,500 have been evacuated in four districts Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore and placed in 26 shelters.

Bangladesh's low-lying coast is often hit by deadly cyclones, but the country has successfully reduced the number of casualties in recent years.

"The government has taken adequate measures to face very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul", said Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman, according to Dhaka Tribune.

The Meteorological Department has asked local authorities and two ports to raise their highest alert, as the cyclone is expected to unleash a storm surge as high as seven feet (two metres) in coastal districts.

Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department officials noted that the cyclonic storm "Bulbul" which is now centred over the west-central and adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal, about 310 km south-southeast of Paradip, has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm.

Bangladeshi and Indian authorities on Saturday ordered more than 450,000 people to flee coastal villages and islands as Cyclone Bulbul headed for the Bay of Bengal coast. Parts of coastal Odisha and Bengal are already witnessing heavy rains, and the National Disaster Force has stationed 34 teams on standby across the region. More than 5,000 shelters in 13 coastal districts had been prepared by the morning. In Odisha, information about the death of one person due to a rain-related wall collapse incident has been received from Kendrapara district and the matter is being enquired, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said.

It said the maximum sustained wind speed within 74 kms of the cyclone centre was about 130 kph which was rising to 150 kph in gusts/squalls. The region has the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans.

On Saturday, the RMC on its all India weather warning bulletin forecast "very heavy rainfall" in several Northeastern states.

With winds about 130-140 kph, Bulbul is now the equivalent of a category one or two hurricane in the Atlantic, it said.

Some 55,000 volunteers have been mobilized to go door to door and alert people to the storm.

Authorities also have suspended all activities in the country's main seaports including in Chittagong, which handles nearly 80% of exports and imports.

Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million people, has a history of violent cyclones.

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