Seven die, 28 villages submerged in advance
At least seven people have died, one by tree fall and six by lightning in the primary effect of very severe cyclone Fani, when 28 villages in the coastal districts of Patuakhali and Bagerhat were inundated after the collapse of embankments as the water level rose.
The storm is expected to weaken down to an ordinary cyclone before lashing Bangladesh at midnight with wind speed reducing down 60 to 70 kph, met offices in Dhaka and Kolkata forecast.
“We assume, the storm will hit Khulna between midnight and Saturday Morning. We will begin seeing the storm intensify from the midnight. It will move towards Rajshahi and Rangpur and will become weaker gradually,” Abdur Rahim, a meteorologist at Bangladesh Meteorological Department, told journalists.
Different parts of Bangladesh were experiencing rain with gusty winds since Friday morning after the storm slammed into eastern India.
“Khulna and adjoining southwestern coastal region of Bangladesh has been experiencing the peripheral effect of the very severe cyclonic storm “fani” from morning of Saturday,” the Met office said in a special bulletin.
Six people have died in lightning strikes during storms in three upazilas of Kishoreganj. Shahinur Begum, 35, wife of Mozahar of the village was killed after a tree branch fell on her at Choramonkachi village in the Sadar upazila of Bagerhat at noon as the storm started to expand its arms towards the Southwestern districts since morning.
In Dhaka, the cyclone caused an intensely overcast sky since 3:30pm and a short gust of rain accompanied by thunders and gusty winds.
As part of precautionary measures, the government took 404,250 people to the cyclone shelters and moved as many as 13 lakh people in 19 coastal districts to safer areas by Friday evening.
Different chars of Kalapara and Galachipa upazilas of Patuakhali district were found to be the worst affected of the initial shock, our correspondents report.
Eight villages in Lalua and two in Dhulashal unions were flooded due to the tidal surge of the Andarmanik river, said Tanvir Rahman, Kalapara Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Patuakhali said.
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.
Cyclone Fani may spark flash floods in northern and northeastern districts bordering with India, according to a special bulletin issued by the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre in Dhaka.
“The northeastern and northern region of Bangladesh and their nearby Indian territories are likely to have heavy to extreme downpour in the next 72 hours due to cyclone Fani,” the bulletin said.
“As a result, the water level may rise in the main rivers, especially on the Brahmaputra, Jamuna, Surma, Kushiara, Kangsha and Teesta in the next 48 hours. It is likely to cross the danger level.”
Tidal surges four to five feet higher than the usual is on the forecast for the coastal regions at Chattogram, Noakhali, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira.
The met office in Dhaka hoisted danger signal-7 across the coastal lines of Patuakhali, Bhola, Borguna, Barishal, Pirojpur Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira.
Mongla and Payra ports were asked to hoist danger signal-7 while the Chattogram port was asked to hoist danger signal 6. The signal 6 also was also hoisted in Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur.