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Bangladesh: 7 dead, thousands hit by Cyclone Sitrang

Bangladesh hit by natural digester Cyclone Sitrang. (Photo supplied)

The front of the cyclone, which originated in the Bay of Bengal, hit the Barisal, Chittagong coast near Bhola in Bangladesh on October 24.

At least seven people died as Cyclone Sitrang made landfall in Bangladesh and started crossing the country, triggering tidal surges in the coastal districts of Noakhali, Bhola, Barishal, and Cox's Bazar.

According to the observations of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), the wind speed was highest at 74 km/h in Cox's Bazar and Chattogram yesterday evening.

Thousands of people and livestock have been evacuated from the Cox's Bazar coast in Bangladesh and moved to the cyclone shelters on October 24 due to the inclement weather triggered by cyclone Sitrang.

Following the casualties, a monitoring cell by the Fire Service and Civil Defence was made functional. The incidents occurred in Dhaka, Nagalkot in Cumilla, Daulatkhan, and Charfesson in Bhola, and Lohagara in Narail as the severe storm lashed Bangladesh with heavy rain and devastating wind.

At least 28,155 people and 2,736 cattle were evacuated from the Cox's Bazar coast and shifted to the cyclone shelters till yesterday, while 576 shelters were prepared as cyclone Sitrang was heading towards Bangladesh.

Deputy Commissioner of Cox's Bazar, Mamunur Rashid, said, "Nearby educational institutions have also been kept ready to be used as shelters if required. Evacuation of people to shelters is underway to protect lives and property," he said.

The India Meteorological Department said, "The cyclonic storm "Sitrang," pronounced as "Si-Trang," over the northwest and adjoining the central Bay of Bengal, moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 28 kmp/h during the past 6 hours on Monday evening."

The cyclone is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards. It is expected to cross Bangladesh's coast between Tinkona Island and Sandwip close to Barisal in the intervening nights on Monday and Tuesday.

According to the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry’s reports, "At least 219,990 people have been taken to cyclone centers in 15 coastal districts by 5 pm on Monday."

Dr. Md Enamur Rahman, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief, said, "Directives have been given to evacuate people from the vulnerable areas."

In 2020, Cyclone Amphan, the only the second "super cyclone" ever recorded over the Bay of Bengal, killed more than 100 people in Bangladesh and India and affected millions.

Last year, more than a million people were evacuated along India's east coast before Cyclone "Yaas" battered the area with winds gusting up to 155 kilometers an hour, equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.

The 1970 Bhola cyclone, one of the world's worst natural disasters, killed several hundred thousand people in Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan) and India.

In recent years, better forecasting and more effective evacuation planning have dramatically reduced the death toll from such storms. - 
- Nikhil Gomes 


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