At least nine people were killed and thousands of houses destroyed as severe cyclonic storm Mora tore through the southwest districts of Bangladesh on Tuesday.
The cyclone made the landfall in the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar coastline early yesterday morning with gusty wind at the speed of 146kmph.
Among the deceased, five died in Cox's Bazar; Rahmat Ullah, 50 and Saira Khatun, 55, were crushed to death when uprooted trees fell on their houses on Monday night, Abdul Hamid, 30, and Shahana Akhter, 13, were crushed under trees on Tuesday morning, and Marium Begum, 45, died of cardiac arrest triggered by her panic over the storm.
In Bhola, an infant child named Rashed died on the way to a cyclone shelter around 1am on Tuesday. He had been suffering from pneumonia, his mother Jarifa Khatun told the Dhaka Tribune.
In Rangamati, a woman named Hajera Begum, 45, and a girl named Zayeda Akhter, 13, were crushed to death by trees that fell on their houses in Sadar upazila.
In Bandarban, a man named Katching Thowai, 45, was crushed to death by a tree on Tuesday evening in Lama upazila.
At least 10 people were injured by falling trees and collapsing houses in Cox's Bazar; they are now undergoing treatment in different hospitals.
Meanwhile, at least 21 fishermen who were out in the Bay of Bengal when the storm started are missing as of 7pm on Tuesday, said Mujibur Rahman, president of Cox's Bazar District Fishing Trawler Owners’ Association.
No casualty or major damage was reported in Chittagong, said Mashooqur Rahman Sikder, deputy commissioner of Chittagong.
Cox's Bazar took the brunt of the cyclone as thousands of trees were uprooted and shanties destroyed in the district, reported our correspondent.
According to the Cox's Bazar district administration, offshore and low-lying areas such Kutubdia, Moheshkhali, Pekua, Ramu, Ukhiya and Teknaf have been severely affected, but the damage is the worst in Shah Parir Dwip and Saint Martin's Island.
Saint Martin's Union Parishad Chairman Nur Ahmad said about 70% of the houses on the island had been demolised by Mora.
Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Ali Hossain said several teams were working to assess the damage, but confirmed that at least 20,000 houses are no longer standing.
He said trees that were uprooted now litter the countryside, blocking roads all over the district and preventing access to parts of Cox’s Bazar.
The dry fish industry in Cox's Bazar is facing a loss of nearly Tk1 crore because of the cyclone, said several dry fish traders.
They said they did not think the cyclone would cause so much loss, which is why they did not take the necessary precautions.
“Hundreds of families in the lower coastal areas directly depend on this business. Most of them are facing losses due to the cyclone,” said dry fish trader Jamal Uddin.
In Chittagong, the cyclone left a trail of destruction in seven coastal upazilas: Banshkhali, Sandwip, Anwara, Sitakunda, Mirsarai, Karnaphuli and Chandanaish.
Chittagong district Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Abul Kalam Azad said thatched houses had been damaged and trees had been uprooted in a number of areas around the district.
“We are still assessing the extent of the damage,” said Zillur Rahman Chowdhury, deputy commissioner of Chittagong.
The situation is similar in Rangamati and Bandarban.
Low-lying areas in the coastal districts are inundated in water due to the storm surge.
Due to the flood, around 10,000 hectares of Aush paddy are at the risk of damage in Chittagong.
“Farmers planted Aush seedlings around 15 days ago over an area of 10,000 hectares in 11 districts of Chittagong. The seedlings have already grown to a height of three inches,” said Aminul Haque Chowdhury, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension in Chittagong.
He said his office had cancelled leaves of their staff until further notice.
“We have also opened a control room and formed a committee to determine the extent of possible damage caused by the cyclone,” said the official.
People head back home
People who took shelter in the cyclone centres returned home yesterday afternoon after Mora passed through their areas.
Our Cox's Bazar correspondent reported that more than 150,000 people took shelter in 538 cyclone centres around the district.
In Chittagong, a total of 120,220 people took refuge in the shelters around Chittagong, said Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Abul Kalam Azad.