Bangladesh braces for Cyclone ‘Amphan’ amid pandemic


Dhaka, May 18: When the country is grappling with  coronavirus pandemic, cyclone ‘Amphan’ is approaching towards Bangladesh as an another danger, putting a big challenge to the authorities  to evacuate people in coastal areas maintaining social distancing and hygiene with limited resources.‘Amphan’ turned into a very severe cyclonic storm on Sunday and likely to hit the country  by the early morning of May 19.

Maritime ports of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra to keep hoisted local warning signal four as the very severe cyclonic storm over the southeast Bay  and adjoining southwest Bay  moved slightly northwards and now lies over the west central Bay  and adjoining south Bay.

It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northwesterly direction and then re-curve north-northeastwards and may cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Chattogram during late night May 19 to afternoon or evening on May 20, according to the latest Met office bulletin.

Meanwhile,  State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman on Sunday said the government has taken necessary preparations to face cyclone ‘Amphan’.

As per the warning issued by the Meteorological Department if cyclone Amphan does not change its speed and course, it may the hit coastal districts by early morning of May 19, said the state minister while speaking at a press briefing at his ministry’s conference room on the government’s preparations on the cyclone.

Deputy Commissioners of the coastal districts have already been instructed to keep cyclone shelters ready, he said.

While responding to reporters’ questions about maintaining social distancing at the cyclone centres, the state minister said the district administrations have already been directed to take necessary steps to increase the number of shelters so that people could maintain safe distance at the shelter centers.

More allocations will be made as per the demand of deputy commissioners, Enamur said adding that they have been instructed to make alternative arrangements if there is no electricity during the disaster.

Earlier, the state minister held an online meeting with the cabinet secretary, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, secretaries and senior secretaries to  the ministries concerned and deputy commissioners of coastal districts on the preparations taken to tackle the cyclone.

Besides, Water Resources Ministry Secretary Kabir Bin Anwar on Sunday asked the officials concerned to take necessary preparations to face ‘Ampan’.

“The authorities concerned are requested to take necessary preparations as heavy rains and tidal surge are likely to occur even if the cyclone doesn’t make landfall in Bangladesh,” Anwar said.

Currently, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Bangladesh stands at 22,268 and deaths at 328.