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West Sundarbans hit hard by Cyclone Bulbul

  • Published at 12:32 am November 17th, 2019
Web-Shiba_River_Sundarbans
File photo of Siba river in Sundarbans Dhaka Tribune

Trees, crops, houses, and livestock damaged in Bangladesh

Around four thousand and five hundred trees, including Sundari plants have been affected by Cyclone Bulbul in the Sundarbans, largely in the western side of the world’s largest mangrove forest, according to a primary assessment report of the forest department.

Of the 4,589 trees uprooted, which is worth Tk 50.35 lakh, 4,002 trees were damaged in the west zone while 587 others in east zone of Sundarbans, a Unesco world heritage site, after the Cyclone Bulbul wreaked havoc in the country’s coastal districts in the early hours of November 10, the assessment finds.

Of the trees damaged in west zone, 874 are Sundari, and 1,534 Geoa trees.

The authorities of Sundarbans East and West zones were earlier asked to submit a list of the losses in the forest after the devastating cyclone, and the Divisional Forest Officials (DFOs), after visiting Sundarbans, submitted a report on Thursday.

Although a large number of trees, and other infrastructures were damaged, but no harm was done to wild animals, Mohammad Moinuddin Khan, Forest Conservator of Khulna region, told the Dhaka Tribune.

Responding to a question on how they will deal with the damaged trees, the forest conservator said there is no need to move out the original trees of Sundarbans like Sundari or Geoa.

“But we did a plantation of different trees including rain trees, Arjun and Mahogany trees in Boiddomari on the west side of the forest in the last several years. We will have to bring those trees out because general people will otherwise bring those out and sell,” he said, adding that the original Sundarban trees will remain inside the forest.

Asked on no reports of damages caused to birds, Moinuddin said, it is true that birds can be affected because of the cyclone, but the forest department teams did not find any casualties.

“Sundarbans is an area of tide so birds may have washed away. But we have not found any casualties,” said the conservator.

The forest department report assessed Tk62.85 lakh damage to infrastructures. Also, losses of Tk39.60lakh were estimated for damages to water vessels and other infrastructures.

Dr Mahmud Hossain, professor of Forestry and Wood Technology Discipline of Khulna University, told UNB that Sundarbans acted as a protector during many natural disasters from 1584 to 2019 when it faced 74 big natural disasters

He stressed the need for protecting the mangrove forest to keep the coastal areas safe from any natural disaster.

13 people were killed

At least 13 people have died due to the impact of cyclonic storm Bulbul in Bangladesh.

However, the official estimates of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) confirmed 8 people were killed, and at least 55 others injured.

Thousands of houses damaged in Bangladesh

Some 4,000 to 5,000 houses were damaged by “Bulbul,” which lashed the coastal districts of Bangladesh.

The cyclone made landfall in Khulna, and adjoining southwestern part of Bangladesh before weakening into a deep depression.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman, on November 10, said the cyclone uprooted trees, damaged dwellings and croplands in different coastal districts, including Pauakhali, Bhola, Satkhira, and Khulna.

Tk263 crore in crop yield lost

Bangladesh lost Tk263 crore in crop yield in 16 districts from cyclonic storm Bulbul that swept across the country.

“A total of 50,503 farmers have suffered in 103 upazilas of those districts, while the quantity of crops damaged is 72,212 tons,” Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak said on Nov 12.

The districts affected by the storm includes Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Narail, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Sariatpur, Noakhali, Feni, and Laxmipur.

According to the ministry, 14% of the entire land harvested in the country was affected by the cyclone, of which 8% suffered damages.

Out of 20,83,868 hectares of agricultural land harvested in the country, some 2,89,006 were affected by the storm while crops in 22,836 hectors were damaged, shows the estimates.

The agriculture minister said the government will bring the affected farmers under a rehabilitation program following release of funds by the finance ministry.

The minister said a full account of losses will be ready when the water finally goes down.

Tk 21 lakh livestock loss in Khulna

Livestock, farms and feeds worth more than Tk20.99 lakh were destroyed by the devastating cyclonic Bulbul, according to the final estimate compiled by the Department of Livestock Services of the district, reports BSS.

Although the damage is devastating for individual farmers, but experts said the overall impact of livestock losses in the district’s economy would be limited.

As many as 11,35,393 cattle, buffalo, goats, sheep, and ducks were affected by Bulbul, and it caused the deaths of 1,806 cattle, and 5,58,814 poultry birds along with the destruction of over 69 livestock and poultry farms, final estimate by District Livestock Office finds.

A total of 15 tons forages worth Tk70,000, and 30 tons of straws worth Tk4.20lakh were destroyed during the cyclone, while losses were also caused for feeds for both livestock and poultry, said District Livestock Officer SM Awal Hoque. 

“We have recently submitted our findings on losses and have recommended measures to improve the situation in the Bulbul affected areas,” he said. 

“The department had recommended the government to help farmers for getting interest free bank loans,” the livestock officer said, adding that the government has already taken steps to give free feed and fodder seeds, free vaccination and treatment to livestock.