Super cyclone Amphan: BIWTC suspends ferry services as the cyclone closing in with raging winds

9

Dhaka, May 19: The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) today suspended ferry services on different routes due to super cyclone Amphan, which is likely to hit Bangladesh by Wednesday afternoon/evening.The ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia, Shimulia-Kathalbari, Chandur-Shariatpur, Bhola-Laxmipur andBedhuria-Laharhat will remain suspended until further notice, said Md Jahangir Alam Khan, senior information officer of the shipping ministry.

Amphan has been moving further north-northwards and is likely to make landfall by Wednesday afternoon /evening, Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) said today.

Five to ten feet high storm surge may hit the low-lying areas of the country’s coastal belt under the influence of super cyclone ‘Amphan’ and the moon phase.

“Under the influence of the very severe cyclonic storm, “Amphan”, and the new moon phase, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagherhat, Jhalakathi, Pirozpur, Borguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram and their offshore islands, and chars are likely to be inundated by storm surge of 5-10 feet height above normal astronomical tide,” said the latest Met office bulletin.

“It’s likely to move in a north-northeasterly direction and may cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Chattogram during late night 19 May 2020 to afternoon/evening on Wednesday,” said the special bulletin.

Where is the super cyclone now?

It centred at about 810km Southwest off Chattogram Port, 765km Southwest off Cox’s Bazar Port, 695km South-Southwest off Mongla Port and 690km South-Southwest off Payra Port, according to the Marine Warning issued at 12pm.

The maximum sustained wind speed at the super cyclone’s centre within 90kms was about 225kph rising to 245kph in gusts or squalls while.

Warning Signals

Maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been advised to keep hoisted danger signal 7. Meanwhile, the maritime ports of Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar were told to hoist danger signal 6.

Coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagherhat, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Borguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars will come under danger signal 7.

Meanwhile, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar and their offshore islands and chars will come under danger signal 6.

Wind Warning

Most of the coastal districts are likely to be battered by wind blowing at speed of up to 140-160kph in gusts or squalls with heavy to very heavy rainfall when the storm will cross.

All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay and deep sea have been advised to take shelter immediately and remain in shelter until further notice.

Government preparations

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman said the government has taken necessary preparations to face the super cyclone.

He said 12,078 shelters have been kept ready in 19 coastal districts.

‘Amphan’ will be the first super-cyclonic storm to hit the region for more than 20 years. In 1999, a super-cyclone hit the coast of Odisha, killing more than 9,000 people in India, according to The Guardian.

The super cylone is expected to cause heavy rains and possible flooding in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps, home to more than a million Rohingyas.

Double challenge for Bangladesh

‘Amphan’ will pose a ‘dual challenge’ to Bangladesh as the country grapples to contain the spread of highly infectious coronavirus.

It will be hard to maintain social distance at the cyclone shelters and if there is any asymptomatic patient, the situation will be disastrous.