Cyclone ‘Fani’: Bangladesh evacuates 4 lakh people

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Dhaka, May 03: More than 400,000 people from villages and low-lying areas in the coastal districts have been evacuated as cyclone ‘Fani’ approaches Bangladesh.The Met Office said the cyclone will likely hit the country by midnight.

Enamur Rahman, the state minister for disaster management, said the government is well prepared.

“The deputy commissioners have been directed to take steps to mitigate the damage [once ‘Fani’ hits],” he told reporters in Dhaka.

As many as 4,071 cyclone centres have been opened in 19 coastal districts. “More than 400,000 people have been moved to the shelters. We hope to bring in the rest within this evening,” he said.

Thousands of volunteers have been working in this regard, the minister added.

Villages inundated

The weather office has forecast five feet high storm surge which can be bad news for the low-lying coastal areas.

More than 50 shoals were inundated as the water level rose while several villages were flooded after the collapse of embankments in different upazilas of Patuakhali.

Char Momtaz Naval Police Outpost in-charge Sudev Das said more than 10,000 people have taken shelter in 391 cyclone centres and educational institutions in the affected areas.

Residents of different chars of Kalapara and Galachipa upazilas have been worst affected.

Meanwhile, in Bagerhat, over 100 houses were damaged by flash flood after the Baleshwar River embankment collapsed at Bogi village in Sharankhola upazila.

More than 20,000 people were taken to 234 cyclone shelters and educational institutions.

“Some 150,000 people from the affected areas will be moved to the shelters within the evening,” Deputy Commissioner Tapan Kumar Biswas said.

In a related development, a woman was killed after a tree branch fell on her at Choramonkachi village in the Sadar upazila at noon during storm.

The deceased was identified as Shahinur Begum, 35, wife of Mozahar of the village.

At 3pm, ‘Fani’ was 445km southwest of Mongla Port, the Met Office said.