• Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:58 pm

Cyclone Amphan: Death toll rises to 26

Maritime ports have been advised to lower the great danger signal number to local cautionary signal no three

The severe cyclonic storm Amphan has left a trail of destruction in its wake over Bangladesh, claiming at least 26 lives.

According to our reports from districts, the death count at the hands of the cyclone stands at 26. However, the official estimate till now shows 10 deaths.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman said that of the 10 estimated deaths, two were from Patuakhali, three from Jessore, one from Bhola, one from Pirojpur, one from Satkhira, and two from Chuadanga.

Meanwhile, at a press conference, Enamur said that initial estimates by four ministries suggested that Cyclone Amphan had badly affected 26 districts, causing damage to the tune of Tk1,100 crore.

Amphan also wreaked havoc on wildlife in the Sundarbans, alongside houses and agricultural land in the coastal areas.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed authorities concerned to take prompt measures to provide money and relief materials to the affected people and reconstruct their houses. 

Work on calculating the overall damage caused to houses, embankments and roads by the cyclone; distribution of relief materials and pure drinking water; and repair of damaged power supply lines in the cyclone-hit areas started in the morning yesterday, said PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah.

All district and upazila officials had been asked to make an estimate of the damage caused by Amphan.

The severe cyclonic storm lashed the coastal upazilas in Khulna from Wednesday evening and continued its destructive streak till the early hours of yesterday before weakening into a land deep depression, crawling its way to North Bengal.

Death reports from districts

Dhaka Tribune’s district correspondents reported 15 deaths.

In Pirojpur, two died of stroke as the cyclone wreaked havoc in the district.

The deceased are Golenur Begum, 70, from Dhrupoti village under Amargachia union of Mathbaria upazila and Shah Alam, 55, from Umedpur village under Parerhaat union of Indurkani upazila. Begum was going to a neighbouring house for shelter at around 9pm on Wednesday and Shah Alam died when his house started flooding.

In Jessore, six died when the cyclone was wreaking havoc in the district, Jessore Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md Shafiul Arif said.

The deceased are Khanto Begum, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter, Rabeya, from Chowgacha upazila, Doly Begum, 48, from Baghapara upazila, Moina Khatun, 40, Muktar Ali, 65, and Gopal Chandra Bishwas, 55, from Sharsha upazila.

The 45-year-old Khanto Begum and her 13-year-old daughter died after a tree toppled on their house in Chowgacha upazila. The 48-year-old Doly Begum died in a similar accident in Baghapara upazila.

Trees uprooted following the havoc of severe cyclonic storm Amphan in Satkhira district | Dhaka Tribune

In Chandpur,  a 35-year-old woman named Jannat Begum died after being hit by a falling tree branch while she was out collecting mangoes during the storm in Radirpul area under Balia union of Sadar upazila, confirmed UP Chairman Tajul Islam.

In Satkhira, a 60-year-old man named Shamsur Rahman also died after being hit by a falling tree branch in Bankal area of Sadar upazila.

In Rajshahi, the body of a 42-year-old woman named Monwara Begum was found under a mango tree during the storm in Haridagachi village of Mohonpur upazila at around 3:30am on Thursday, said UNO Sanwar Hossain.

In Sirajganj, a 38-year-old man named Delsat Ali died while returning home during the storm at Projarpara village of Kazipur union, confirmed Kazipur police station OC AKM Lutfor Rahman.

In Rangamati, an unidentified body of a man was found in the Kaptai lake area near Karnafuli hydropower station.

Kaptai police outpost Officer in-Charge Ataul Haque Chowdhury said the man had been mentally unstable. People used to see him walking in Natunbazar and Jetighat areas. 

At one point he fell into Kaptai Lake. Later, with the help of the local UP chairman, the locals buried the unidentified body in the Kaptai cemetery, he added.

In Bogra, two people went missing, including a child, after a shallow boat sank in Sariakandi upazila.

The missing persons are Farid Uddin, 35, and Mim Akhtar, 12.

Sub Station Officer of Sariakandi Fire Service and Civil Defense Mozammel Haque said 10 passengers were able to swim to the shore, but two were still missing.

“There is a strong current flowing in the Jamuna. Still members of the fire service and the police are continuing with search operations in Kazipur area of Jamuna River in Sirajganj,” he added.

Earlier, at least seven people were killed as Cyclone Amphan made landfall along the coastline of Bangladesh on Wednesday.

The deceased were from Barguna, Satkhira, Pirojpur, Bhola, and Patuakhali districts.

10m without power

At least 10 million consumers across the country are now without electricity.

Contacted by Dhaka Tribune, Anjan Kanti Das, member of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB), said: “Almost all of our consumers have been affected by the devastation caused by the cyclone, except those living in areas adjacent to Dhaka.”

According to the latest weather bulletin, Amphan became a land deep depression over Rajshahi-Pabna region and moved slightly north-northwestwards.

The maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra have been advised to keep hoisted local cautionary signal number three while all fishing boats and trawlers over the north bay and deep sea have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice.

The estimates of damage were prepared on the basis of information provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives.

“This will be finalized once the district administrations send data from the field level. It may take upto one week,” State Minister Enamur said. 

“1,100km road and 200 bridges and culverts have been damaged of the local government division, 150km dam damaged of Water Development Board, and cracks identified in 84 dams. Tk200-300 crore will be needed to repair them,” he said. 

“The Water Development Board currently has 400,000 sacks of sand to start work,” he added.

The state minister said: “The fisheries department claimed damage while livestock were safe. Loss in shrimp farming in Khulna, Satkhira, Barguna, Patuakhali is worth Tk325 crore. Cattle were safe as they had been evacuated to shelter centres.” he said. 

“Huge numbers of houses have been destroyed. UNOs have already received allocation of 500 bundle tin sheds, and Tk15 lakh each to reconstruct the houses,” he said.

“Many tube-wells were damaged. We have set up a water treatment plant and water purifier,” he added.   

Enamur said: “Farmers lost mangoes worth Tk1.5 crore. We will buy those mangoes which will be given out as food aid.”

Amphan affects 1,76,007 hectares of agriculture land

Amphan’s fury along the coastal areas of Bangladesh affected crops on some 1,76,007 hectares of land in 17 coastal districts, as initial estimates suggest.

Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzaque, at a press conference yesterday, claimed that the agricultural sector “did not suffer a huge loss.”

“We are hoping to publish the financial estimates of the total loss by Saturday [tomorrow],” he said.

“Sixty to seventy percent mangoes of Satkhira district have been damaged, taking the amount of land to 3,000-4,000 hectares more.

“We have already asked Pran-RFL Group to buy the premature mangoes for producing pickle and chutney. Meanwhile, we have requested the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief to buy mature mangoes from the farmers so that they can distribute them as food aid,” he added.

“Moreover, yields of betel leaf and yellow petite lentils in Rajshahi were also damaged.” the minister said.

“Boro paddy has incurred damage on 47,002 hectares of lands which is 10% among the affected areas’ estimated production of that crop.

“96-97% of the total paddy production in Khulna was harvested before the cyclone made landfall. In Satkhira, that number is almost 90%. Also, we had finished harvesting our Boro paddy production as per the prime minister’s instructions, way before the cyclone could damage anything,” Dr Razzak said.

He said: “Moreover, a total of 3,284 hectares of  land of maize (5% of total production) yield, 34,139 hectares of jute (5%) yield, 2,333 hectares of betel leaf (15%) yield, 41,967 hectares of vegetable (25%) yield; 1,575 hectares peanut (20%) yield, 11,502 hectares of sesame (20%) yield, 7,384 hectares of mango (10%) yield, 473 hectares of litchi (5%) yield, 6,604 hectares of banana (10%) yield, 1,297 hectares of papaya (50%) yield, 3,306 hectares of chilli (30%) yield, 640 hectares of soybean (50%) yield, 7,973 hectares of yellow petite lentils (50%) yield, and 6,528 hectares of Aush paddy yield have been damaged by cyclone Amphan.”

“A list of the affected farmers is being prepared. Various incentives, including free fertilizers, seeds, and financial assistance will be provided to them during the Aman season. Vegetable and spice farmers will be especially compensated,” the minister added.

“Moreover, fruit growers and betel leaf farmers will be granted loans on only 4% interest. We will also provide compensation based on the damage sustained.”

“Vegetable and flower farmers are the ones mostly affected by the shutdown over the coronavirus pandemic. We will also compensate them by providing them with free irrigation facilities,” said Dr Razzaque.

Cyclone Fani, which hit Bangladesh on May 4 last year, damaged crops on 63,063 hectares of land.

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