Cyclone Amphan strikes Bangladesh’s coasts

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Dhaka, May 20: Extremely severe cyclone Amphan has started crossing Bangladesh’s coastal districts, particularly the nearby areas of Sundarbans, with strong winds of over up to 180km per hour.Meanwhile, the coastal district of Khulna was battered by heavy rainfall and wind with the speed of up to 71kph as super cyclone Amphan started crossing the region on Wednesday evening.

The cyclone made landfall in Sagar Island of West Bengal and started crossing West Bengal-Bangladesh coast around 4:00pm, said Md Shahinul Islam, meteorologist of Bangladesh Meteorological Department.

It was lying over coastal Sundarbans area, especially in the Satkhira district, with the wind speed of 115 km per hour around 8:00pm, he told this correspondent.

According to the special bulletin of BMD, the cyclone is likely to move in a north-northeasterly direction further and complete crossing the coast during next three to four hours tonight.

The maximum sustained wind speed within 74 km of the cyclone centre is between 160 kph to 180 kph in gusts or squalls, it added.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman said that the low-laying areas of different coastal districts inundated with the storm surge of around five to seven feet height above normal tide.

Aminul islam, an official of Khulna regional met office, said the cyclone made landfall around 6:10pm and will cross Khulna Division within an hour.

According to UNB Khulna Correspondent, they are experiencing heavy rain.

Trees and electric poles have been uprooted in the storm. In some places, vehicular movements have been halted as fallen trees block roads. Many  houses and infrastructures have also been damaged. Power supply has been also cut off.

Besides, several embankments in Uttar Bedkashi, Dakhshin Bedkashi unions of Koyra, Pikegachha, Dakope upazila have been inundated and collapsed due to tidal surge caused by the cyclone.

Meanwhile, 41mm rain has been recorded from 6am to 6pm.

The local administration has evacuated 400,000 people in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts until Wednesday noon. The coronavirus outbreak and social distancing have made the situation more complex.

Amphan, the first super cyclone to form in the area since 1999, has been forecast to cause storm surges, severe flooding and mudslides.

The Indian Met Office said Amphan crossed West Bengal-Bangladesh coast between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) across Sundarbans between 3:30pm and 5:30pm IST with wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.

Bangladesh Red Crescent said one of its volunteers helping villagers to evacuate became the first fatality after the boat he was in capsized in strong winds. Meanwhile, a child died in Patuakhal’s Galachipa after a tree branch fell on him during storm.