Cyclone Mahasen crossed the Bangladesh coast yesterday afternoon leaving at least 16 people dead and hundreds injured.
Scores of houses, establishments and crops on a vast expanse of land were damaged, with trees uprooted before the storm headed for Tripura in India.
The storm caused three seven-foot tidal surge, a heavy downpour and squalls which disrupted life in coastal and central districts, according to our correspondents.
People in the regions started returning to their homes from cyclone shelter centres after the storm crossed the coast.
The storm-related deaths were reported from Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Pirojpur and Chittagong districts.
Scores of people were injured leaving home for safety or returning home after hearing about a theft during the storm.
In Barguna, seven people were killed and more than 100 houses destroyed when the storm bore down on the district.
The dead were identified as Syed Ali, 65, of Ranipur village, Amir, six, of Bakultali village in Betagi upazila, and Chand Mia, 70, in Taltali upazila, Anwar Hossain, 60, and Nadira Akter, 26, Mosharraf Hossain, 65, in Bamna upazila and Hanufa Begum, 25, in Patharghata upazila, according to Barguna district relief and rehabilitation office.
In Bhola, four people were killed in Lalmohan and Charfashion upazilas yesterday morning.
The dead were identified as Abul Kashem, 45, and Parvez, six, of Lalmohan upazila, Rafizul Islam, 65, and Nipa, 10, in Charfashion upazila.
In Patuakhali, three people died of heart attack while going to cyclone centres in Sadar, Galachipa and Kalapara upazilas in the morning.
The three deceased were identified as Siraj Akand, 80, a resident of Balakathi village in Sadar upazila, Rizia Khatun, 30, of Galachipa upazila and M Ishaque, a retired schoolteacher of Kalapara upazila.
In Pirojpur, Monwara Begum, 60, was killed and her husband and son were injured when a tree fell on their house at Pashuria village in Mathbaria upazila in the morning.
In Chittagong, a woman, 45, died at a shelter centre in Kutubkhali area of Banshkhali upazila at noon, according to UNB.
However, Md Abdul Mannan, deputy commissioner of Chittagong district, told the Dhaka Tribune at 7pm yesterday: “We have not yet had any news of casualties or the loss of resources from the upazilas, including the most vulnerable Banshkhali and Swandip.”
He said they were trying to evacuate some people who were living near the hilly areas of Chittagong town due to the risk of landslide.
After a heavy and frequent rainfall, landslides are common in the district, he added.
The government has estimated that 15 coastal districts including Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barisal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira were the places most affected by the storm.
A total of 956,671 people huddled in 3,296 cyclone shelters in 15 coastal districts yesterday morning, according to Abul Hasan Mahamood Ali of Disaster Management and Relief centre.
The meteorological department said the storm first hit Patuakhali’s Khepupara coastline at 9am when the maximum wind speed was 100km/h.
A surge in storm washed away flood control dams and many villagers rushed to cyclone shelters and other areas of high land and spent the night there, our correspondent reported.
Many mobile phone towers were uprooted disrupting telecommunications services. The district headquarters had been in in dark since 7am yesterday, while the upazilas had no electricity since last night.
At least 70 villages of coastal district Cox’s Bazar were flooded by a five-foot high tidal surge.
Moheskhali upazila Chairman Abu Bakar Siddique said: “Through the huge crack of embankment, the tidal water entered Dhalghata, Sutiapara and some other villages and flooding around 10 villages.”
Kutubdia upazila Chairman ATM Nurul Bashar Chowdhury said: “At least 30 villages were flooded as high tidal water entered the villages.”
Bhola district Red Crescent Secretary Azizul Islam said five of their engine-driven rescue boats sank at Tulatuli terminal of Sadar upazila.
At least 20 villages in Chandpur district have submerged as Meghna river water flooded the villages at high tide, according to our correspondent.
Meanwhile, the delivery of goods at Chittagong port resumed yesterday afternoon, according to port Secretary Syed Farhad Uddin, according to UNB.
He said the loading and unloading of goods at the port remained halted as the ships were resting at the outer anchorage.
The activities at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar Airports will resume this morning.
On Wednesday, all airports, seaports and educational institutions in the regions were shut after the maritime ports of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar were advised to hoist danger signal number seven.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority suspended the operation of vessels and ferries on long routes till further notice.
All ships staying at the main jetty and mooring were moved away to the outer anchorage for safety. Chittagong and Karnaphuli EPZs were declared closed for an indefinite period.
Important equipment were shifted from the local bases of Bangladesh Air Force and Bangladesh Navy to avoid possible destruction.
Besides, the bogies and wagons of trains were taken to safer places from different railway stations.