Dhaka – Bangladesh has taken massive preparedness as sever cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal neared the country’s south-western coast in the evening, officials said on Saturday.
Cyclone Bulbul, with wind speeds from 130 to 150 kilometers per hour within its 74 kilometers center, is likely to strike the Khulna district, where the world’s largest mangrove forest is located.
The government has evacuated more than 300,000 out of 1.8 million vulnerable people from 13 coast districts to safety ahead of the cyclone approaches. Dry-food and other relief materials have been dispatched to the potential affected areas, officials said adding that the coast guard forces had been asked to remain alert to begin rescue operation as soon as the cyclone die down.
State Minister for Disaster Management Enamur Rahman said that more than 300,000 people have been moved to cyclone shelters in 13 coastal districts. Nine districts are projected to be most vulnerable to Bulbul.
Shah Kamal, secretary of the disaster management ministry, said the government has planned evacuation of nearly 1.8 million people in the coastal district and low-lying areas in the off-shore islands.
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, he added.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department issued great danger signal number 10 has been issued for Mongla and Payra maritime ports and 9 for Chattogram port as very severe cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ is likely to move in a north/northeasterly direction and may cross parts of Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh’s Khulna near Sundarbans by this evening.
Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars have came under great danger signal no 9 while the maritime port of Cox’s Bazar has also been advised to hoist local warning signal no. 4.
The coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni,Chandpur, Borguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Bhola, Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagerhat and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be battered by wind speed upto 100-12kph in gusts/squalls with heavy to very heavy falls under the influence of the storm.
The bulletin said under the influence of the very severe cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ and the moon phase, the low lying areas of districts of Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Borguna, Bhola , Patuakhali, Barishal, , Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by storm surge of 5-7 feet high above normal astronomical tide.
Maximum sustained wind speed within 74km of the very severe cyclone centre is about 130kph, rising to 150kph in gusts or squalls and will remain very high near the very severe cyclonic centre, the bulletin added.
All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice, according to a special bulletin of the met office.