SAMI

Published:
2020-05-22 12:18:29 BdST

Coasts ravaged; 20 killed, damage worth Tk1,100cr


Highlights

  1. Total damage from the cyclone worth Tk1,100 crore.
  2. Around one crore people in the south-western and north-western regions have been left without electricity.
  3. The cyclonic storm caused around 60% network towers (13,000 in number) of the region to be cut off the power supply.
  4. Coastal areas of Satkhira, Bagerhat and Patuakhali were affected most among 26 districts that were hit.
  5. 1,100 kilometres of roads, 200 bridges and culverts were damaged.
  6. 150 kilometres of embankments in 84 places have been either damaged or completely broke.
  7. Water that broke through the embankments affected 1,80,500 hatcheries. Financial loss worth Tk325 crore.
  8. The cyclone damaged mangoes worth approximately Tk150 crore.
  9. 6 kilometres of embankments and 763 hectares of crops destroyed in Bhola.
  10. Amphan weakens into storm, signal lowered at ports.
  11. So far 20 people were killed in different districts of Bangladesh.
  12. At least 72 people have died in India's West Bengal due to cyclone Amphan, said the state's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
  13. Cyclone Amphan leaves Kolkata Airport flooded, structures damaged.

Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful cyclone to hit Bangladesh and India since 1991, has claimed at least 20 lives and caused extensive damage to properties amounting to around Tk1,100 crore after it ripped through coastal districts with strong winds, heavy rain and tidal surges on Wednesday afternoon. 

The cyclone hit the Satkhira, Bagerhat and Patuakhali hardest among the 26 affected districts.

On Wednesday evening, after making landfall in India's West Bengal, Amphan entered the Bangladesh coast blowing away thatched houses and uprooting trees at the Sundarbans coastline of Bangladesh. 

An emergency volunteer also drowned in a boat capsize while on duty.

In a virtual briefing, Dr Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and Relief, said the damage was primarily estimated to the tune of Tk1,100 crore in 26 districts hit by the cyclone.

The cyclone damaged 1,100-kilometre roads, 200 bridges and culverts and 233 local government offices. 

The water that broke through the embankments has affected 1,80,500 enclosures and hatcheries in the coastal regions. The loss will be approximately Tk325 crore. 

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, 150 kilometres of embankments have been affected by the cyclone. The embankments have either partially or completely damaged in at least 84 places. 

Amphan also damaged mango orchards causing losses worth approximately Tk150 crore.

The ministry figures report 10 deaths. But according to reports from our reporters, the death toll is at least 20.

On Thursday morning, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered her administration to help the affected people with relief and cash and rebuild their damaged houses.

Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Md Tofazzal Hossain Mia said, "Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is staying informed and updated round the clock."

"From this morning [Thursday], all the district and upazila officials have been instructed to work in coordination with all the ministries and agencies to monitor and take effective measures to repair the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan."

Devastation by Amphan

According to the met office, the powerful cyclone hit Satkhira with a wind speed of 152 km per hour. The wind speed in Patuakhali was 122 kmph, 83 kmph in Khulna, 85kmph in Mongla, 75kmp in Khepupara, 75kmph in Koira and 64kmph in Hatiya. 

Earlier, it was forecast to hit the Bangladesh coast with a wind of 240 kmph, making it the most powerful storm in decades. But it lost strength as it approached the coast and destroyed the 24 Parganas of West Bengal.

Winds became stormy in Hatiya around 4pm on Wednesday and then the cyclone veered towards Satkhira and hit the coast. 

The worst damage by Amphan was from the tidal surge. 

But the storm weakened considerably by Thursday morning. Both the wind and rain have mostly died down. 

After lashing Satkhira, Khulna, Jhenaidah and adjoining areas, it moved towards Magura, Gopalganj, Rajbari, Sirajganj and Jamalpur in the early hours of Thursday.

According to the Water Development Board, the tidal surge began at 3pm along the coastal region of the country. At the same time, as it was also the new moon, the tide was high. These two natural phenomena led to the tidal surge reaching 12 feet in height. 

Around one crore people in the south-western and north-western regions of Bangladesh have been left without any power supply as the power lines and poles have been knocked down in these areas. 

The power went off on Wednesday afternoon when the cyclone hit the coastline of the Sundarbans.

Mobile phone networks are also out of service in some of the worst hit areas.

The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators Bangladesh (AMTAB) says 50 to 60 percent of mobile towers in Khulna, Barisal, Chattogram, Sylhet, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Rangpur, and Rajshahi have been badly affected.

Mobile operators said the network towers still working are also in danger of facing power failure due to lack of electricity.

Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board, the largest distribution company in the country, says power lines were knocked down in 25,000 spots in the areas and around 300 pillars have toppled over.  

On the other hand, West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited, the company responsible to supply electricity in Barishal, Khulna and some parts of Dhaka, claims that around 781 electric poles have been knocked over and 1716 have leaned over from the wind force.

Meanwhile, 790 kilometres of distribution line and 114 transformers worth Tk10 crore, according to initial estimates, have also been damaged during the cyclone.

Satkhira sustains extensive damages

The very powerful cyclone has totally destroyed mango orchards, paddy fields and other crops in most of the upazilas under Satkhira district - including Shyamnagar, Kaliganj, Ashashuni and Tala. 

Around 50 villages in the Shyamnagar Upazila were flooded as the embankment of the water development board was breached. 

Our local correspondent reports that around 500-600 houses were destroyed. Road communication has snapped as most of the roads and highways were blocked with fallen trees.

On Thursday morning, Forest Department's Khulna Circle conservator of forest, Moyeen Uddin Khan, said, "Our investigation teams have not returned yet. The river water is still too rough. It takes time to calculate the actual damage. So far, as I know, the damage is minimal."

Md Shahab Uddin, environment, forest and climate change minister, said in a briefing that as per primary report 10 wooden jetties and more than 30 employee barracks of the forest department have been damaged. Sea water has entered into more than 60 ponds of the Sundarbans.

Devastation in Bagerhat

Devastating cyclone Amphan submerged more than 4,000 fish enclosures or hatcheries of Bagerhat district. 

Fishes of these hatcheries swept away as the areas were flooded after the river embankment collapsed due to tidal surge. 

Meanwhile, more than 350 homes were washed away, Deputy District Commissioner Md Mamunur Rashid confirmed the information to the media. 

The district has a total of 78,100 fish hatcheries, he said. 

Apart from hatcheries, seed-bed and the vegetable fields were also flooded with the river surge.  

5,377 ponds inundated, two died in Patuakhali

Md Matiul Islam Chowdhury, deputy commissioner of Patuakhali, said an 8-kilometre-long river embankment was breached by tidal surge in the district.

"However, there is no crop damage report as the district does not have much land," he added. Roads and electricity supply systems are also not damaged in the coastal district.

Greater Khulna also affected

The cyclonic storm totally and partially damaged 82,000 homesteads. The storm surge that washed away several embankments in low-lying coastal areas, said a district Relief and Rehabilitation Management official.

At least 5 lakh people of 68 unions under nine upazilas of Khulna have been affected by the cyclone, he said.

Thousands of shrimp enclosures have been washed away, numerous thatched houses, trees, electricity and telephone poles, dykes and crop lands were damaged and many villages were submerged by the tidal surge of Amphan, he said.

Shock in mango orchards

Extensive damages have been reported in mango orchards in Rajshahi since a large number of mangoes have knocked off the trees as cyclone Amphan raged through the orchards.

It is being assumed that around 20 to 25 percent of the mangoes were damaged, although proper assessment is yet to be conducted, Md Shamsul Islam, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Rajshahi, confirmed the matter to The Business Standard.

At least 20 killed

According to our correspondent at least 20 people were killed. Among the victims, three are from Pirojpur, two each are from Patuakhali, Jashore and Satkhira, and one each from Bhola, Laxmipur, Sandwip. 

Sixteen of the deceased are -- Syed Shah Alam, 54, and Rashed, 5, from Patuakhali; Md Siddique, 72, and Rafiqul Islam, 35 from Bhola; Shahjahan Molla, 55, Gulenur Begum, 70, and Shah Alam, 50, from Pirojpur; Rabeya, 13, and Khento Begum, 45, from Jashore's Chaugachha; Moktar Ali, 65, Moyna Begum and Gopal from Jashore's Sharsha. Nadira Begum, 55, from Jhenaidah and Salauddin, 16, from Chattogram's Sandwip.

Amphan update by met office

Cyclone Amphan weakened to land depression and is now crossing through Rajshahi region at the time of writing this report at 9:00pm. It is moving to the northern direction and further weakening gradually. 

Md Omar Faruq, meteorologist of Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), confirmed this to media saying, the BMD has advised maritime ports of Mongla, Payra, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar to hoist local cautionary signal no 3.

The land depression is likely to leave Bangladesh next day and rain might continue under its influence till then, he added.

All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay and deep sea have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice as the sea will remain rough. 

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