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Dhaka Tribune

Cyclone Bulbul: Early estimates suggest extensive damage

At least 25 people reportedly killed due to the cyclone storm that hit the coastal region of Bangladesh early Sunday 

Update : 12 Nov 2019, 01:24 AM

More than 250,000 hectares of croplands and 150,150 households in 12 districts are feared to have been damaged by the cyclonic storm Bulbul, with reports of at least 25 people killed during or just after the storm.  

Power supply in 16 districts has been disrupted on different levels due to the storm, according to local sources in the districts.

However, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) confirmed only 13 deaths due to the impact of Bulbul.

Among them, four died in the districts that were not listed as disaster-prone for the cyclone by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, according to a DGHS press release. 

The DGHS said most of them had died after trees fell over them during the storm, while one person in Barguna died from a heart attack.

A fishing trawler carrying 24 fishermen from Bhola capsized in the Meghna River during the storm. One of them were found dead on Sunday, and nine more bodies were recovered in Mehediganj, Barisal yesterday. As of 12am, one fisherman remain missing. 

In addition, two died in Khulna, one in Patuakhali, two in Bagerhat, two in Barguna, one in Barisal, two in Pirojpur, three including a child in Gopalganj, and two in Shariatpur, according to our correspondents. 

According to the DGHS, some 55 other people were reported to have been injured during the storm, 30 of whom were admitted in several hospitals. 

The cyclone, termed “very severe,” smashed into the coast India’s West Bengal around midnight, local time, before crossing over the border to Bangladesh through the Sundarbans in Khulna around 5am on Sunday. 

Local officials in India have reported that 12 people have been killed from the impact of Bulbul in the West Bengal and Odisha states, reported AFP.

The remains of a destoyed hut after the aftermath of cyclone Bulbul in Satkhira |  Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The damages

Local offices of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in 12 districts told Dhaka Tribune that more than 250,000 hectares of cultivable lands, where farmers were growing paddy, mustard, beetle leaf, vegetables and fruits, have been damaged. 

Among these 12 districts, Barisal, Satkhira and Khulna seem to have been affected the most. 

In Satkhira, some 25,000 hectares of paddy was fully or partially damaged, while 2,000 hectares of vegetables, beetle leaf, mustard and plums were damaged as well. 

In Khulna, 25,000 hectares of Aman paddy land and 1,092 hectares of fruits and vegetable land were partially or fully damaged. 

In Barisal, Aman and Boro paddy in 100,000 hectares of lands were affected, while 6,000 hectares of mustard and2,000 hectares of pulses were partially or fully damaged. Besides, some 100,000 small and large trees were uprooted or felled during the storm. 

Croplands were fully or partially damaged in Madaripur, Bhola, Jessore, Barguna and Bagerhat as well. 

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Soutam Kumal Sheel, upazila agriculture officer in Jessore’s Sharsha upazila said many paddy fields were submerged due to huge rainfall due to the storm. 

When contacted, Abdur Razzak, director of Crops Wing at the DAE, told Dhaka Tribune they had yet to receive reports about the state of the damage caused by Bulbul from the affected districts. 

“It might take several days to get a proper idea,” he added.

About 150,150 houses were damaged in Satkhira, Khulna, Barisal, Bagerhat, Madaripur, Chandpur, Barguna, Gopalganj, and Jhalakathi. Besides, 151 schools were partially or fully damaged. 

Some 5,017 fish farms in Satkhira, 160 fish and shrimp farms in Barguna and 435 fish farms in Barisal were damaged. Besides, 120 km of road in Barisal and 38.5km of embankment in Barguna were damaged as well.

According to the Barguna district office of Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB), more than 300 electric poles and some 50 transformers were damaged. Besides, 11 sub-stations were shut down due to the cyclone, disrupting power supply.   

More than 20 electric poles were damaged in Chandpur as well.

Tourists not allowed in the Sundarbans

The Department of Forest has banned tourists from visiting the Sundarbans for the next few days so they can make proper assessment of the damages caused to the mangrove forest due to Cyclone Bulbul.

Conservator of Forest (Khulna division) Moyeen Uddin Khan told Dhaka Tribune that employees of all 63 camps of the department were working in the Sundarbans to assess the extent of destruction. 

The Sundarbans weakened the cyclone when it entered Bangladesh through West-Bengal border, its wind speed coming down to 70-80 kmph.

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has urged the authorities concerned to take urgent steps to save the world's largest mangrove forest, for the sake of the country. 

Our correspondents Asaduzzaman Sarder in Satkhira, Hedait Hossain Molla in Khulna, Monjur Hossain in Madaripur , Ibrahim Rony in Chandpur, MA Ahad Chowdhury Tuhin in Bhola, Selim Reja in Jessore (Benapole), Sumon Shikdar in Barguna, SM Samsur Rahman in Bagerhat, Saiful Islam Swapan in Lakshmipur, Manoj Kumar Saha in Gopalganj and Anisur Rahman Swapan in Barishal contributed to this report

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