• Saturday, May 08, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:29 pm

Can Sundarbans protect Bangladesh again?

  • Published at 02:30 pm May 19th, 2020
Aftermath of cyclone Sidr in the Sundarbans in November 2007 <strong>Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune</strong>
Aftermath of cyclone Sidr in the Sundarbans in November 2007 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Joint Typhoon Warning Center also warned that the super cyclone has been centering towards Sundarbans

The Sundarbans had been a safeguard for Bangladesh by shielding the country several times from massive storms and cyclones.

But, will the largest mangrove forest in the world protect Bangladesh again from super cyclone Amphan, which has been advancing towards the coast at a rapid pace?

According to meteorologists, if the cyclone continues on its current path, it will hit the wide coastal area of the bay between Khulna and Chittagong and its impact will spread throughout the country.

“However, if the cycle of the cyclone gets narrowed gradually, it will hit the Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira coast of the bay and Sundarban zone of Bangladesh and India,” said Monowar Hossain, meteorologist of Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD).

Joint Typhoon Warning Center also warned that the super cyclone has been centering towards Sundarbans.

“Comparing the previous cyclone like Sidr and Aila, this cyclone seems more powerful considering the wind speed at its center,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

On 15 November 2007, Cyclone Sidr with wind speeds up to 260 km/hour, made landfall on southern Bangladesh, causing over 3,500 deaths and severe damage. But it will be more devastating if Sundarbans not to be safeguard. 

Similarly, Sundarbans shielded Bangladesh in 27–29 May 2009 during Aila and 2019 during Bulbul.

“If it continues its speed, even after landfall, it can be worse than Cyclone Sidr,” he added. 

However, Indian Meteorological Department said the wind speed will gradually slow down.

‘Sundarbans had prevented possible damage from the cyclonic storm Sidr, Aila and Bulbul in past,’ said Chief Forest Conservator Amir Hossain Chowdhury.

“If the super cyclone landfall on the Sundarban, Bangladesh will become comparatively safer,” he added.

“If the storm enters Bangladesh through the Sundarbans and then hits Khulna, the forest will reduce its wind speed and it will become weak. That's why Bangladesh will not face see much casualties,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.

“As far we have been informed, it will weaken during landfall. But, if the wind speed above 100kmh, it will be devastating, even if the Sundarbans remains,” he added.

“We have already alerted the fishermen to stay inside safe zones of the Sundarbans. Although causalities may be reduced by this, but wildlife will be destroyed due to cyclone,” he added.

According to a latest met office bulletin, wind speed of the cyclone is likely to be between 150-160kmh during landfall. 

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