Disasters & Accidents

Death toll mounts to 24 as cyclone Sitrang batters Bangladesh

(Update 1 : updates death toll, adds details)

Dhaka, Oct 25 (EFE).- Bangladesh authorities on Tuesday raised the death toll to 24 while eight people remained missing after cyclone Sitrang wreaked havoc in the country overnight, forcing the evacuation of over 600,000 people before gradually weakening.

The cyclone, carrying torrential rains, made landfall at 9pm near Bhola district on Monday with a wind speed of around 90 kilometers per hour (56 miles per hour) and took nearly four hours to complete the landfall process, according to Bazlur Rahid of the Bangladesh meteorological office.

“It has now weakened into a low-depression and headed towards Meghalaya in India,” he said.

Five people died in the worst-affected Bhola district, most of them crushed under trees uprooted by the cyclone, confirmed local police chief Saiful Islam.

“We have four people dead in different areas crushed under falling trees. Another body was found in a river, who we suspect died in a boat capsize at some point during the cyclonic weather,” Islam told EFE.

Another three deaths were reported from Comilla district, two from Sirajganj, and one each from Barguna, Narail, and Shariatpur districts, and another from the capital Dhaka. Ten other people including a Myanmar citizen were reported dead in different districts due to falling trees or boats sinking.

The victims in the eastern Commila district were a couple and their four-year-old child died, according to local administration chief Kamrul Hasan.

Hasan said that the couple was sleeping when a tree fell on their house in the district’s Nagolkot area. They died immediately, while their daughter succumbed to her injuries later.

The authorities were now trying to locate at least eight people missing after the boat carrying them sank in the Sandwip canal, close to the port of Chittagong.

Chittagong’s regional administrative chief Minjahur Rahman told EFE that these people had refused to spend the night in a shelter, believing the storm to be a normal one.

“Only one person came with us. When the storm was over he went back to the boat and found it sunk. He said he saw bodies inside the boat but have not been able to secure it yet,” said Rahman.

According to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, the cyclone caused heavy rain in many parts of the country, with southern Barishal receiving the highest precipitation of 324mm in 24 hours, while Dhaka recorded 255mm of rain during that period.

Authorities had evacuated 605,615 people in 6,925 shelters across 15 coastal districts before the cyclone struck, according to a spokesperson in a control room under the disaster management ministry.

Bangladesh 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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