Bangladesh: Cyclone kills 22 leaving thousands stranded

By Md. Kamruzzaman


BARGUNA, Bangladesh (AA): At least 22 people were reportedly killed across Bangladesh after Cyclone Sitrang struck the country on Monday night, forcing around 10 million people to shift to safer areas, while tens of thousands remain marooned awaiting government help, officials said.

Five people were killed in separate cyclone-related incidents on the country’s largest island in the south-central district of Bhola, while three people died in Cumilla, two in Sirajganj, and one each in Dhaka, Shariatpur, Barguna, and Narail, local media report.

Four people were killed in separate incidents in the district after trees collapsed on them during Cyclone Sitrang, and another man died after being washed away, according to the local daily The New Age, which cited the district’s Superintendent of Police Saiful Islam as confirming the casualty figure.

8 laborers killed

Whereas a sand mining dredger sank due to the cyclone in the Sandwip channel in the port city of Chittagong’s Mirsharai coast on Monday night, killing eight laborers, a local told Anadolu Agency.

A sand mining dredger sank in the Sandwip channel off Chittagong’s Mirsrai coast, killing eight laborers.

The dredger sank on Monday night in the west of the Jetty of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial area due to the impact of Cyclone Sitrang, chief government officer of Mirsrai town, Md Minhazur Rahman, told Anadolu Agency.

He said immediately after the accident, other workers took to the water and began rescuing the trapped workers. They discovered eight laborers’ bodies but were unable to recover them.

Divers and firefighting teams are currently attempting to recover the bodies of the laborers, but he added that the circumstances that arose after the cyclone struck the region made the rescue operation difficult.

However, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that they have one death in Bhola and nine total casualties in the cyclone across the country. He made no mention of the incident on the Mirsharai coast or the deaths of eight laborers.

He added that their teams are still assessing and collecting information about the cyclone’s damage.

The minister said nearly 10 million people from 19 coastal districts have been sifted to safer locations including cyclone shelters. “Luckily, the storm caused less damage, as people were already left for shelters,” he added.

Tens of thousands marooned

Due to Cyclone Sitrang’s continuous rains for more than two days, many coastal areas have been inundated, marooning tens of thousands of people.

“Our drainage system is inadequate, and two days of nonstop rain have kept us flooded. We can’t cook or sleep at home because there’s water everywhere,” Anadolu Agency spoke with Kamola Begum, a resident of the Patharghata sub-district in the southern Barguna district.

She argued that they have been suffering from floods for many years due to excessive rain, but the authorities have taken no effective measures to develop the drainage system in the region.

Meanwhile, nearly eight million consumers have been without power since the cyclone hit the country, according to State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, who spoke to local media on Tuesday.

He asserted that power would be restored to most of the affected areas by Wednesday evening.

“We’ve been without power for over 35 hours. Since Monday morning, the weather has been perfect. But we are still powerless right now,” Arman Mahin, a Patharghata resident, told Anadolu Agency.

Other residents in the area reported that there has been no power for three days.

Due to the hours-long blackout, most service providers’ mobile networks, including the state-owned mobile network, have been disrupted in coastal areas.

People are unable to communicate with one another, and many did not receive proper weather updates prior to Cyclone Sitrang striking the delta nation of nearly 170 million people.

*SM Najmus Sakib contributed to this story

[Photo:  Fishermen are staying in a safe place due to strong cyclone Sitrang in Chittaganog Halishahar coastal area of Bangladeshon October 24.2022.
Photojournalist :Mohammad Shajahan/AA]

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