Experts said that the trail of devastation the Amphan left would have been much higher, had the Sundarbans not been there
The Sundarbans have once again acted as a biological protective shield against cyclones and typhoons, as observed through its resistance against the severe cyclonic storm Amphan.
The severe cyclonic storm lashed the coastal upazilas in Khulna on Wednesday evening, continuing its trail of destruction till the early hours of Thursday before weakening into a land deep depression.
The storm hit the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast o Wednesday evening with pounding winds and torrential rains, inflating sea waters to swell to 12ft tidal surges.
Meteorologists said the “extremely severe cyclonic storm” was packing maximum sustained winds around 160-170km/h (100-120mph) and gusts to 190km/h (120mph) as it roared ashore in Khulna, Mongla and Satkhira.
Experts said that the trail of devastation the Amphan left would have been much higher had the Sundarbans not been there as a defensive shield.
The Sundarbans has shielded the coastal belt from the ferocity of the cyclone, which weakened to a land depression from extremely severe after crossing the largest mangrove forest in the world.
“The Sundarbans prevented huge damage from the cyclonic storm Amphan. The Sundarbans has saved us,” Md Moinuddin Khan, forest conservator of the Khulna region, told Dhaka Tribune on Thursday.
He said the Sundarbans had been saving the coastal region repeatedly from the adverse impact of natural disasters like cyclone Amphan.
“The Sundarbans with its thick mangrove forest acts as a biological protective shield. The mangroves do not just help reduce wind speed drastically when the storm moves through the delta but even help break the waves and the surge triggered,” he added.
The storm, however, claimed several lives in different coastal districts as it uprooted trees, caused the collapse of houses and prevented people from taking those ailing to hospitals from cyclone shelters.
Even though instances of human casualties were reported during two earlier and similar storms in 2007 and 2009, hundreds of thousands of others survived as the Sundarbans stood as a shield between the inhabitants of the coastal districts and the fierce winds.