Cyclone Remal kills 7, leaves 15 million without power in Bangladesh

27 May,2024 11:43 AM IST |  Dhaka  |  mid-day online correspondent

Cyclone Remal, first of Bay of Bengal monsoon season, which was named by Oman, caused widespread damage in Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Satkhira & Chattogram

People were being moved to safer areas as Cyclone Remal hit Bangladesh. Pic/ X

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Severe cyclone Remal has devastated Bangladesh's beaches, killing at least seven people and leaving 15 million people without power. The cyclone slammed with winds of up to 120 kph, causing widespread flooding in hundreds of villages.

According to the Met Department, Remal had reduced to a cyclonic storm with winds of 80-90 kph by Monday morning, having made landfall around midnight on Sunday. Cyclone Remal, the first of the Bay of Bengal monsoon season, was named by Oman and translates to "sand" in Arabic, reported PTI.

Per the news agency report, Cyclone Remal has caused widespread damage in Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Satkhira, and Chattogram. In Patuakhali, a man was washed away by a storm surge while attempting to rescue his family. Another individual in Satkhira perished while seeking refuge. Five more deaths were reported in Barishal, Bhola, and Chattogram.

A trawler sank in Mongla, leaving two persons, including a toddler, missing. To reduce damage, the rural power authority cut off power to 15 million people in coastal areas, with some districts experiencing outages lasting more than 12 hours. Power restoration efforts will begin after the storm has subsided.

Chief engineer Biswanath Sikder of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board verified continuous storm conditions in coastal areas as of 9:45 am, leaving millions without electricity. Cyclone Remal was last spotted near Koira in Khulna and is anticipated to diminish further during the next few hours, the PTI report added.

According to the report, despite precise forecasts and increasing public awareness, weakened embankments caused severe flooding, with coastal waves exceeding 5 to 6 feet. Authorities stopped three seaports and Chattogram International Airport, while marine ports Payra and Mongla were instructed to raise danger alert number 10.

Fishing vessels and trawlers in the North Bay of Bengal and deep sea were urged to stay in port. The cyclone's severity and air pressure differential may result in wind-driven tides 8-12 feet higher than typical in coastal areas and outlying islands.

Bangladesh has designated numerous coastal schools as cyclone shelters, with multi-story structures for both people and animals. On Bhashan Char island, which is home to 36,000 Rohingya refugees, 57 storm shelters have been prepared. On Sunday, about 800,000 people were evacuated from risky places, the report stated.

Junior Minister for Disaster Management and Relief, Mohibur Rahman, stated that volunteers have been mobilised to transport evacuees to around 9,000 cyclone shelters, and that all schools in the region have been shuttered till further notice. The airport in Chattogram was closed, internal flights to and from Cox's Bazar were cancelled, and loading operations at Chittagong ports were halted, with ships relocated to the deep sea for safety.

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