DHAKA: At least 24 people have been killed and over 100 others injured as cyclone Roanu battered Bangladesh’s southern coast, triggering landslides, prompting authorities to evacuate about five lakh people.
With a wind speed of up to 88 kilometres per hour, the cyclone hit the Barisal-Chittagong region, sending impacts across the country. Most places witnessed rain and thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty and squally wind on Saturday morning.
“The death toll now stands at 24 with four more casualties reported overnight,” Bangladesh’s Disaster Management department’s Director General Reaz Ahmed told PTI.
11 people including minor children were killed in the northwestern port city of Chittagong, which appeared to have suffered the worst in the cyclone, Ahmed said.
The southwestern Bhola, northwestern Noakhali and Cox’s Bazar coastal districts witnessed three deaths while the storm damaged 85,000 homesteads and business structures along the coastlines, he said. Several of the victims drowned in inflated waters caused by surges while landslides, collapse of houses and uprooted trees killed others, officials said.
A disaster management ministry spokesman said some 500,000 people were evacuated to cyclone shelters though preparations have done to secure some 21,00,000 people.
Meteorologists said the cyclone first hit the southwestern coast and then proceeded towards the southeast turning the sea very rough. The Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagong suspended all of its flight operations due to Roanu.
Bangladesh is vulnerable to cyclones because of its location at the triangular shaped head of the Bay of Bengal, the sea-level geography of its coastal area and its high population density while two deadliest cyclones occurred in 1970 and 1991 claimed some 500,000 and almost 14,0000 lives respectively.