Disasters & Accidents

Bangladesh picks up the pieces as cyclone death toll rises to 32

Dhaka, Oct 27 (EFE).- Bangladesh authorities on Wednesday raised the number of deaths caused by cyclone Sitrang earlier this week to 32, even as dozens of villages continue to remain flooded and their residents have been trying to rebuild their lives in the wake of the severe damage caused by the storm.

In recent hours, emergency teams recovered the four remaining bodies out of the eight people who were killed by their boat sinking on Monday night in a canal in the Bay of Bengal near Chittagong, when Sitrang battered the Bangladeshi coast.

“It took us time to recover bodies as we could work only half an hour each time there was an ebb (in the tide),” regional administrative chief Minhajur Rahman told EFE, adding that the first body was recovered on Wednesday night, and the remaining three on Thursday morning.

The cyclone flooded dozens of villages that continue to be submerged by saltwater, with the storm causing widespread damage to houses and crops.

“We had two areas in our sub-district with no embankments. The water came very fast with the cyclone but is now receding slowly. Many of the villages here are still under water,” Zahir Uddin, a public representative from Rangabali in the southern Patuakhali district, told EFE.

An official from the nearby village of Chalitabunia, Mohammad Al Amin, said he had lost hope of harvesting any rice in his small field, but many of his neighbors had suffered even more damage, losing crops spread over hectares.

Parumal Shil, a hairdresser in the neighboring Bargunaque district who has reopened his establishment, reported damages to his house due to the powerful storm, which caused a tree to fall on the building even as he was inside along with his family.

“I was at home with my sick son and wife the night the cyclone struck. I started regretting not going to a shelter as the night grew. The worst fear was the high tide, as we live very close to the Payra river,” said Shil, thanking his family’s luck that they were physically unharmed.

“But now I am worried about how I will repair my house,” he added.

Sitrang made landfall on Monday night near the Bhola district with a wind speed of around 90 kilometers per hour (56 miles per hour), causing torrential rains and leaving behind a trail of destruction in different parts of the country.

The storm subsequently lost momentum on Tuesday, turning into a depression.

The authorities evacuated a total of 605,615 people to some 7,000 coastal shelters, with the help of 76,000 volunteers.

According to a preliminary assessment, at least 3,028 houses have been completely damaged and 6,904 partially destroyed by the storm, disaster management ministry official Robiul Islam told EFE.

The Bay of Bengal region, which includes Bangladesh and parts of India, is prone to cyclones due to its geographic location, and they occur mostly between April and May, and October-November.

The last major cyclone to hit the country was Amphan, which killed nearly 100 people in Bangladesh and neighboring India in May 2020. EFE


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