Cyclone Roanu: Govt suspends plying of launches across the country, 2 million people to be evacuated

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Dhaka, May 20: The Bangladesh Inland Transport Authority (BIWTA) on Friday suspended plying of all inland water vessel including passenger launches as the cyclonic storm ‘Roanu’ moved rapidly towards Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, disaster management and relief secretary Shah Kamal said about 22 lakh (2 million) people are being evacuated from 18 coastal districts.

The BIWTA issued a circular to stop plying of water vessels until further order.

Besides, lighterage ships, all fishing boats and trawllers over north bay and deep sea have been advised to take shelter immediately and will remain in shelter till further order.

Meanwhile, the met office declared danger signal number seven as the cyclonic storm ‘Roanu’ over west central bay and adjoining area moved rapidly towards Bangladesh and officials with the help of volunteers started evacuating thousands of people in six coastal districts yesterday .

Fears have mounted that the winds are going to whip up sea surges that could be devastating in six coastal districts—Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, and their offshore islands and char lands.

The authority concerned directed the coastal people for taking shelters in cyclone centres by 8:00pm today (Friday).

The ministry concerned has taken all out preparations with the help of volunteers to evacuate the people.

The ministry sources said adequate stock of dry food, water, blankets and cash money have been kept ready in preparedness of meeting the eventuality when cyclone strikes.

All the leaves of government officials and employees in the coastal districts have been cancelled to monitor the evacuation and disaster preparedness programme.

Maximum sustained wind speed within 54 kms of the cyclone centre is now about 62 kph rising to 88 kph in gusts and squalls as it was gaining strength in warm water of the sea, the Met office said.Roanu

According to Met office special bulletin number 13, the cyclonic storm ‘roanu’ was centred at 6:00pm yesterday about 860 kms Southwest of Chittagong port, 840 kms Southwest of Cox’s bazar port, 675 kms Southwest of Mongla port and 705 kms southwest of Payra port.

It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northeasterly direction and may cross chittagong-noakhali coast by Saturday evening, Met office sources said.

As the Roanu roars of the sea packing heavy winds its accompanying clouds are spreading inside the country including capital city Dhaka and over Rajshahi,  Rangpur,  Khulna, Barisal, Chittagong and Sylhet divisions with heavy to very heavy falls at places are likely.

Already rains were reported from different parts of the capital and coastal areas as influence by the advancing cyclone.

Under the influence of the cyclonic storm ‘Roanu’ the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Cox’s bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Borguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barisal, Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagherhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by storm surge of 4-5 feet height above normal astronomical tide.

These areas may experience high wind speed up to 62-88 kph in gusts and squalls with heavy to very falls during the passage of the storm.