26 May 2024, 18:54

Bangladesh issues highest cyclone warning as evacuation underway

 DHAKA, May 26, 2024 (BSS) – Bangladesh overnight issued the highest cyclone warning for its southwestern coastlines amid continued evacuation of tens of thousands to safety as the low-lying country alongside India braces for the year’s first cyclone dubbed as “Remal”, expecting its landfall on late Sunday.

The met office 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.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department said Remal would make landfall Sunday between 6:00 pm and midnight (1200-1800 GMT).

“Under the peripheral effect of the severe cyclone and steep pressure gradient, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts . . . and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by wind driven surge of 08-12 feet height above normal astronomical tide,” the latest met office bulletin read.

According to Indian met office the cyclone 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 southwestern Khepupara area.

Meteorologists warned the severe storm could uproot trees and cause major damage to thatched homes and disrupt power and communication systems.

The approaching storm forced authorities to close country's three seaports and the airport in the second-largest city Chattogram.

 Bangladesh’s disaster management ministry said they mobilised tens of thousands of volunteers to motivate and help them moving to makeshift shelters or safer places in next few hours.

“We aim to evacuate thousands of people living in their vulnerable homes along the coastlines to our nearly 8,000 cyclone shelters in quickest possible time,” a spokesman of the ministry said, adding that local authorities have already evacuated 800,000 people to cyclone centres from coastal areas.   

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

Such storms can uproot trees and cause major damage to thatched homes and power and communication lines while parts of coastlines started experiencing moderate rainfalls.

Officials said on the low-lying Bhashan Char island, which is home to 36,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, 57 cyclone centres were readied.


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