Movement of water vessels on many routes remain suspended
Different parts of the country, including the capital, are set to witness continued rainfall as the deep depression over the central part of the Bay of Bengal intensified into a well-marked low.
The authorities lowered the cautionary signals for maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Mongla, and Payra by one notch to number 3 on Friday after the deep depression over the northwest Bay of Bengal lost its intensity and moved towards the coasts of Khulna and West Bengal of India.
The maritime ports were asked to keep the cautionary signals hoisted.
The depression crossed Khulna, confirmed the Met Office at 6pm.
Meanwhile, the river ports in coastal areas were asked to hoist cautionary signal number 2.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur at various places of all the eight divisions, according to Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD).
The coast-crossing depression moved north-eastwards, crossed the West Bengal-Khulna coast (near West Bengal-Bangladesh border region) during 12pm to 6pm and was centred at 6pm on Friday over Faridpur-Madaripur region and adjoining areas as a land depression, said a BMD bulletin.
Steep pressure gradient persisted over the north Bay and deep convection was taking place over the north Bay and the adjoining coastal areas of Bangladesh.
The sea will remain rough near the depression centre, the bulletin added.
Meteorologist Md Abdur Rahman Khan said rainfall will increase in several areas including some areas of Rajshahi, Rangpur, and Mymensingh but he said the situation would improve starting Friday night.
All fishing boats and trawlers were advised to remain in shelter until further notice. They were also asked to not venture into the deep sea.
Due to the rainfalls, the low-lying parts of Dhaka, Chittagong, and the coastal areas including Barisal went under water causing immense sufferings to the residents.
Under the influence of the depression in the Bay, low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barisal, Lakshmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chittagong, and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by the wind driven surge with the height of three-five feet above normal astronomical tide, the Met Office predicted.
The deputy commissioners’ offices in coastal areas opened a control room and prepared their shelter centres to take people in if needed, said the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
As many as 74,000 volunteers are ready to provide any assistance necessary.
Water vessels suspended
Launch services on Barisal and Bhola districts' internal routes were suspended Friday morning due to the inclement weather.
Launch services were suspended on seven internal routes in the Bhola district and altogether on 22 internal routes in the entire Barisal division until Friday afternoon, said Barisal Port Officer Mostafizur Rahman.
On all internal routes of Barisal, launch services remained suspended since Friday morning and the restriction will remain in place until further notice, said Traffic Inspector Md Kabir of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
According to the Bangladesh Water Development Board, the water of Kirtankhola River in Barisal was flowing above the danger line.
Plying of water vessels remained suspended between Shimulia of Munshiganj and Kathalbari of Madaripur since Thursday due to the bad weather.
As many as 82 launches and over 400 speed boats that ply on these routes are suspended till further notice, according to BIWTA officials.
Thousands of passengers are facing trouble on both sides as the ferry service on the route has been suspended due to navigability issues.
The river vessels from and to Hatia of Noakhali district remained suspended since Thursday because of the depression in the Bay of Bengal.
Hatia Upazila Nirbahi Officer M Imran Hossain said they have kept nearly 3,000 volunteers ready and opened all the 180 shelter centres for the people.
Launch services between Chandpur and Narayanganj route were also suspended since Friday morning. However, all launches from Dhaka arrived on time in Chandpur, said BIWTA Deputy Director AKM Kaisarul Islam.
Barguna Deputy Commissioner Mostain Billah said there are 509 shelter centres that will be used to keep people safe if the situation deteriorates.
In Patuakhali, all internal river vessels were suspended until further notice while 900 shelter centres were kept ready.
Heavy precipitation in Chittagong
The port city had been experiencing heavy precipitation accompanied by gusty or squally wind since Thursday.
The weather forecast officials feared that heavy to very heavy rainfall may trigger landslides in some parts of the city.
Many low-lying areas of the city including No 2 Gate, Agrabad, Prabartak Circle, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, Sholokbohor, Bahaddarhat, Pahartali, Kalamia Bazar, Kalurghat, Chandgaon, and Bakalia went under water on Friday.
The devotees visiting Durga Puja mandaps faced immense suffering due to the continuous downpour. The water entered some low-lying residential houses and business firms, leaving the people marooned.
Businesses were also hit hard as trading activities in Chaktai and Khatunganj wholesale markets were disrupted.
Meanwhile, the local administration launched an awareness campaign in the port city, making announcements through public address systems so that people can leave the vulnerable hilly areas fearing landslides due to incessant rains.
Towhidul Islam, assistant commissioner (Land) of Chittagong district administration, said a total of 15 shelters were opened in the city to avert landslide-related casualties and damage amid the heavy downpour.
The district administration has so far listed 835 families who are living on the 17 most vulnerable hills, owned by different government, autonomous, private organizations, and individuals including Bangladesh Railway, Public Works Department, Chittagong Wasa, and Chittagong City Corporation.
Around 400 tourists stranded on Saint Martin’s Island
Nearly 400 tourists remained stranded on Saint Martin's Island due to the inclement weather.
Among the tourists, there is a group of 300 people from Cox's Bazar called 'Amar Bazar' who went on a three-day trip to the island last Wednesday, reports UNB.
Md Nur Ahmed, chairman of Saint Martin's Island union parishad, said there were more than 400 on the Island who were scheduled to return on Thursday but could not go back due to hostile weather.
Tourists were told to leave the island on Wednesday but many did not listen, he said.
Teknaf Model police station Officer-in-Charge Hafizur Rahman said the tourists were safe and the island's police outpost was instructed to keep an eye on them.
Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Saiful Islam said he is taking regular updates on the tourists.