Cyclone in Bangladesh kills 16, million seek shelter

Cyclone in Bangladesh. [Photo: Twitter/ rai_montu]

On Tuesday, a cyclone roared into the Bangladesh coast resulting in death of at least 16 people, destroying houses, uprooting trees and disrupting road, power and communication links.

The devastating cyclone also forced the evacuation of about a million people from their homes.

Around 10 million people were without power in 15 coastal districts, while schools were shut across southern and southwestern regions, news organisation CNA reported.

Cyclones, the equivalent of hurricanes in the Atlantic or typhoons in the Pacific, are a regular menace but scientists say climate change is likely making them more intense and frequent.

The report said that Cyclone Sitrang made landfall in southern Bangladesh late on Monday but authorities managed to get about a million people to safety before the monster weather system hit.

A government official Jebun Nahar, who was quoted by AFP, said 14 people died, mostly after they were hit by falling trees, and two died after a boat sank in squally weather in the Jamuna river in the north.

“We still have not got all the reports of damages,” she told the international news agency.

The cyclone barrelled in from the Bay of Bengal with winds gusting up to 88 kph (55 mph) and a storm surge of about 3 m (10 ft) that flooded low-lying coastal areas.

The report quoting officials further said the power and telephone links have been largely cut and coastal areas plunged into darkness.

Most of the people killed were crushed by falling trees.

No major damage was reported in refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh, where more than a million ethnic Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar are living in flimsy shelters.

Officials advised nearly 32,000 Rohingya refugees who have moved from the camps to a flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal to stay indoors.

“We felt the force of the strong wind but were spared,” one of the Rohingya refugees was quoted a saying by Reuters.

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