Bangladesh Orders Mass Evacuation as Cyclonic Storm Makes Landfall

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Bangladesh authorities have evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from the Cox’s Bazar coast to temporary storm shelters as the deadly Cyclone Sitrang made landfall in the country.

The cyclone claimed the lives of at least nine people on Tuesday, destroying houses and damaging power and communication lines in coastal villages, Reuters reported.

Cyclone Sitrang barreled in from the Bay of Bengal with winds gusting up to 88 kph (55 mph) and a storm surge of about 3 meters (10 feet) that flooded low-lying coastal areas in Bangladesh. [reuters]

Mamunur Rashid, the deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar, said that 28,155 people and 2,736 cattle had been evacuated from the Cox’s Bazar coast before the cyclone made landfall, and 576 temporary shelters had been prepared.

“Nearby educational institutions have also been kept ready to be used as shelters if required,” Mamunur told Dhaka Tribune. “Evacuation of people to shelters is underway to protect lives and property.

The cyclone has weakened into a deep depression after moving north-northeast at a speed of 20 kph (12 mph) on Tuesday and lay centered at midnight (UTC) over the northeast of Bangladesh, according to the India Meteorological Department.

No major damage was reported in refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh, where more than a million ethnic Rohingya refugees from neighboring Burma (also known as Myanmar) are living in flimsy shelters.

Humanitarian aid organization CARE said the cyclone could cause a “medium to major humanitarian impact” in Bangladesh, given its maximum sustained wind speed and the exposed population, including the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.

“Many of the coastal districts in the southern part of the country are likely to be inundated by the wind-driven water surge and landslides in the hilly regions of Chittagong, the southwestern division of the country,” CARE said in a statement.

Nearly 32,000 Rohingya refugees who have relocated to a flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal were instructed to stay indoors. Heavy rain fell on the streets of the capital, Dhaka, causing some flooding and disruption to commuters.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Aldgra Fredly

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Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.



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