Bangladesh braces for cyclone Bulbul

Published : 20:17, Nov 09, 2019 | Updated : 20:44, Nov 09, 2019

FOCUS BANGLA/BHOLAAuthorities have evacuated hundreds of thousands in the coastal area as the Met Office overnight issued its highest warning signal saying a “very severe cyclonic storm” is now expected by Saturday (Nov 9) midnight.
Disaster ministry officials said thousands of people already moved to safe shelters as the evacuation campaign was underway particularly in nine southwestern coastal districts which were likely to swallow the maximum brunt of the cyclone codenamed “Bulbul”.
“By now 400,000 people were evacuated and we plan to shift 1.8 million people to cyclone shelters by the evening in 14 vulnerable districts,” disaster management ministry senior secretary Md Shah Kamal told newsmen.
FOCUS BANGLA/SATKHIRAHis comments came hours after the met office elevated its warning signal number to the highest level of the cyclone scale.
The met office said the moon phase coincided with the “very severe cyclonic storm” and feared the storm surges of 5-7 feet height above normal astronomical tide to inundate low lying areas of the coastlines.
“The maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been advised to keep hoisted great danger signal no. ten (in a scale of 10),” the met office bulletin read.
FOCUS BANGLA/BHOLAIt said 10 southwestern coastal districts and their offshore islands and shoals would come under the purview of the “great danger signal number 10”.
The met office also elevated the warning signal for southeastern Chattogram asking the port authorities there to hoist “great danger signal no. nine with experts saying in terms of intensity it was identical to signal no. 10”.
The bulletin said the five southeastern districts would come under the purview of the great danger signal no. 9 as the cyclone was likely to keep marks of its rage on their coastlines and adjacent offshore islands.
A first responder calls people to take shelter at cyclone centers at Mongal of Bagerhat on Saturday (Nov 9).The latest met office bulletin issued this afternoon said the cyclone approached further towards Bangladesh coasts and was staying 240 kms southwest of Mongla Port and 275 km away from Payra Port.
Its position was 445 kms west and southwest of both Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar, the bulletin said.
The previous bulletin issued earlier this morning said it was 280 kilometers southwest of Mongla Port and 315 km southwest of Payra Port while it was visibly moving in a north/northeasterly direction.
“We are expecting the cyclone to hit the Khulna and (India’s) West Bengal region adjacent to the Sundarbans anytime from the evening to midnight,” a met office spokesperson said.
He said the maximum wind speed within 74 kms of the storm was measured to be 120 kph (kilometers per hour) to 140 kph in the afternoon.
Met office’s deputy director Ayesha Khatun, however, said the intensity or strength of the Bulbul would be lesser than that of the Sidr or Aila, which had ravaged the coastlines in 2007 and 2008.
FOCUS BANGLA/SATKHIRAResidents of the coastal areas reached in Dhaka by phone said inflated sea levels under the influence of the cyclone have inundated low lying areas of the coastlines amid continued drizzles.
The disaster management secretary said army troops and members of the coast guards were called out to supplement the cyclone preparedness initiatives, alongside Red Crescent volunteers and government agencies including police.
The evacuation drive was underway in 14 districts — Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagherhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Chattogram, Noakhali, Feni, Laxmipur and Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars.
High tide submerges the coastal area due to the impact of cyclone `Bulbul` on Patuakhali`s Kuakata seac beach on Saturday (Nov 9). FOCUS BANGLA“In most vulnerable areas including chars (small island), we are trying to help people move out along with their valuables and cattle as well,” he said.
Kamal said the evacuees were being provided dry food while “we have enough stock of relief materials for them,” while nearly 1,600 medical teams were kept ready to treat the cyclone victims.
The ISPR, meanwhile, said the navy prepared two war ships equipped with medical facilities and relief materials to launch rescue drives once the cyclone hit the coastline alongside five other contingents of theirs in aid of the victims.
Bangladesh Army, Coast Guards, local administration, volunteers of the cyclone preparedness programme, officials and employees of the Disaster Management Ministry are jointly working in the evacuation drive. FOCUS BANGLAState minister for disaster management and relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman, however, said the army troops as well were prepared with their full strength as part of the government’s preparedness.
“We have adequate stock of food . . . the local administration, army troops and volunteers are ready to face the cyclone impact,” he said.
Bangladesh authorities earlier, ordered a temporary ban on movements of ferries and boats in internal river routes alongside all fishing boats and trawlers over northern part of the Bay of Bengal, where the storm originated initially in the form of low pressure.
FOCUS BANGLA/NOAKHALI, HATIYAState Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman told a news briefing in Dhaka that “adequate measures” were taken to tackle the storm expecting it to cause little damage to human lives.
He, however, feared the standing crops to be largely affected by the tidal surges and wind.
Rahman said some 56,000 volunteers were ready to provide help, particularly to evacuate people to safe shelters before the cyclone made the landfall while the local administrations were equipped with packs of dry food for the temporarily displaced people.
FOCUS BANGLA/DHAKAThe government, meanwhile, cancelled the leave of the officials and employees in the coastal districts alongside the students’ school final exams.


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