• Monday, Dec 06, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:54 am

Cyclone Yaas a double trouble for Bangladesh, India

  • Published at 08:43 am May 26th, 2021
Cyclone Yaas
Satellite image provided by Nasa shows Cyclone Yaas approaching India's eastern coast AFP

Dykes shattered, coastal districts flooded as preparations underway to tackle the impact

The cyclonic storm “Yaas” intensified into a severe cyclonic storm over the east-central bay and adjoining area Tuesday, and is likely to hit India’s West Bengal and North Odisha coast on Wednesday.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) yesterday morning said that the cyclone over east-central Bay of Bengal had moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 9 kmph during the past six hours.

The cyclone was likely to make landfall near Balasore coast in Odisha — 240km from Kolkata — on May 26 noon with a thunderous wind speed of 155-165 kmph. While Bengal will avoid a direct hit, several of its districts – East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Jhargram, Bankura and Purulia – falling within the core area of Yaas are likely to be severely affected, reports The Times of India.

Even though Bangladesh may not endure a direct hit, the country’s south-western coastal areas are already experiencing gusty wind and rain.

The cyclone was centred at about 565 kilometres southwest of Chittagong port, 525 kilometres southwest of Cox’s Bazar port, 455 kilometres south-southwest of Mongla port and 445 kilometres south-southwest of Payra port, at 12 noon yesterday, said Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD).

Maximum sustained wind speed within 64km of the severe cyclone centre is about 89 kmph rising to 117 kmph in gusts. The sea would remain high near the severe cyclone centre, a special bulletin of the Met Office said.

14 districts may get inundated

Due to the cyclonic storm and a full moon, the coastal districts might see a tidal surge.

Maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra have been advised to keep hoisted distant warning signal number three. 

The coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Jhalakati, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Chittagong and their offshore islands and chars are likely to experience wind speed up to 80-100 kmph in gusts or squalls with heavy to very heavy falls during the passage of the storm.

Also read - ED: Bracing for Yaas

Meanwhile, tidal water entered low-lying areas and chars (dried-up riverbeds) in Khulna, Satkhira, Patuakhali and Noakhali areas. In many places, the water also overflowed the embankments.

Most of the fishing villages in the Sundarbans, including Dublar Char, were submerged by yesterday evening.

According to our correspondents, the embankments were already shattered in several upazilas including Shyamnagar in Satkhira and Koira in Khulna.

In the coastal areas of Bangladesh, thousands of people are still recovering after last year’s Cyclone Amphan, with over 100,000 people still living in temporary shelters.

Efforts to minimize damage

Due to the tidal upsurge, residents of the affected areas were trying to move to safer places as the local administrations and non-governmental organizations campaigned to send them to safety.

Nearly two million people living along India's east coast had been moved to cyclone shelters, officials said yesterday.

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) yesterday suspended movement of all types of passenger vessels in the country's inland river ports due to the cyclone until further notice.

The authorities have been claiming for the last couple of days that they took all-out preparations to deal with the adverse impact of Cyclone Yaas.

Shelter centres were prepared ensuring the health guidelines amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a government handout said.

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said that it had taken necessary steps to take all the people of the vulnerable areas to the shelter centres.

There are isolation facilities for the Covid-19 patients at the shelter centers. Strict measures were taken to ensure that no infected person could spread the virus among others at the centers.

A control room has been set up under the Local Government Division to coordinate with different departments and the local government bodies. Phone number of the control room is 9545415.

Moreover, local public representatives and government officials were asked to take overall preparations so that the impact could be curbed.

Feroz Salah Uddin, secretary general of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said that more than 75,000 trained volunteers were ready to respond in the coastal areas before, during, and after the cyclone.

He said: “Sufficient cyclone shelters are ready so that people can maintain physical distance during evacuation.

“We have already updated our contingency relief stocks and mapped our existing response capacity to respond to this cyclone.”

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