The weakening cyclonic storm Mahasen is steadily heading towards Bangladesh and likely to hit the country’s coastal areas on Thursday noon.
According to the latest Met Office bulletin, the cyclonic storm Mahasen (with ecp 990 hpa) over the west central Bay and the adjoining north Bay moves slightly north-northeastwards and now lies over north Bay and adjoining west central Bay. It may cross Patuakhali (Khepuparha)-Teknaf coast near Chittagong by Thursday noon.
According to United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the cyclone has already hit the costal belts of Sri Lanka, killing at least seven people and affecting thousands others. But it did not make landfall in Sri Lanka.
The UN said about 8.2 million people in northeast India, Bangladesh and Myanmar would be affected, adding Bangladesh’s Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar areas could face the worst of a tidal surge and heavy rains.
According to the Bangladesh Met Office bulletin, the cyclone centred about 555 kms southwest of Chittagong port, 500 kms southwest of Cox’s Bazar port and 445 kms south southwest of Mongla Port at 12 am.
Director of the Meteorological Department Shah Alam predicted that the cyclone is likely to crossed Khepupara-Teknaf coast near Chittagong on Thursday noon, lashing the country’s low-lying coastal areas.
The Met Office bulletin said the cyclonic storm is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northeasterly direction and may cross between Batuakhali (Khepupara)-Teknaf coast near Chittagong by Thursday noon. Its peripheral squally wind has started affecting the coastal regions with rains.
The maximum sustained wind speed within 54 kms of the storm centre is about 62 kph rising to 90 kph in gusts/ squalls.
The people of the country’s coastal regions have been running for safer places since Wednesday morning.
All airports, seaports and educational institutions in the regions have been shut after the maritime ports of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar advised to hoist danger signal number seven.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) suspended the operation of vessels and ferries on long routes till further notice.
Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar Airport were closed on Wednesday afternoon.
Squadron leader Rabiul Alam, station manager of the Shah Amanat airport, said all activities at the airport remained stopped since 4pm as the region has come under the danger signal number 7.
Meanwhile, all activities at the Chittagong Seaport have been suspended following the issuance of the danger signal number 7. The authorities have also issued ‘alert-3’ at the port.
Port secretary Syed Farhad Uddin Ahmed said the loading and loading of goods at the port were suspended.
All ships staying at the main jetty and mooring were asked to move away to the outer anchorage for safety, he said.
Chittagong and Karnaphuli EPZs were declared closed on Wednesday for an indefinite period.
Important equipment were being shifted from the local bases of Bangladesh Air Force and Bangladesh Navy to avoid possible destruction. Besides, the bogies and wagons of trains were being taken to safer places from different railway stations.
Directives have also been issued to take vessels from Cox’s Bazar and Mongla ports to safer places.
The government has taken all-out measures to shield possible loss of lives and property from the cyclone. Some 2,968 permanent and temporary shelter centres have been kept ready in the coastal districts for the locals to take shelter there.
A total of 1,327 medical teams are also ready in 13 coastal districts to provide emergency medical services if Mahasen’ hits Bangladesh. There are six doctors in each team.
The holidays of the government officials and employees in the coastal districts have been cancelled to tackle any exigencies.
Twenty-two ships of Bangladesh Navy have been kept standby for conducting rescue operations and relief activities should ‘Mahasen’ makes a landfall inBangladesh.
The Sea will remain very rough near the storm centre.
Maritime ports of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar have been advised to keep hoisted danger signal number seven (r) seven.
The coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal and their offshore islands and chars will come under the danger signal number seven (r) seven.
Maritime port of Mongla has been advised to keep hoisted danger signal number five (r) five.
The coastal districts of Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars will come under danger signal number five (r) five.
Under the influence of the storm the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barisal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagherhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by storm surge of 5-7 feet height above normal astronomical tide.
The coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Pirojpur and their offshore islands and chars are likely to experience wind speed up to 90-100 kph in gusts/ squalls with heavy to very falls during the passage of the storm.
The coastal districts of Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars are likely to experience wind speed up to 80-90 kph in gusts/ squalls with heavy to very falls during the passage of the storm.
Due to very heavy rainfall, landslide may occur at places over the hilly regions of Chittagong division. All fishing boats, trawlers and marine vessels over north Bay have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice.
In Chittagong, the district administration opened 479 shelter centres. Besides, control rooms have been opened at the district administration and Chittagong City Corporation.
In Cox’s Bazar, the district administration opened 534 shelter centres. Besides, 533 educational institutions were also kept ready for people to take shelter. Around 7000 volunteers alongside 113 medical teams were kept ready.
In Khulna, people were passing sleepless nights amid fear of being hit by the cyclone.All warships at Naval base BNS Mongla have already been shifted to Tutumir Naval Base in Khulna while trawlers fishing in the deep sea started returning to safety.
A total of 169 cyclone shelters have been kept ready to avoid possible loss of lives from the cyclonic storm Mahasen.
Ten control rooms have been opened at district and upazila levels that will monitor the development round the clock.
In Bagerhat, people were being shifted to 201 cyclone shelters. Besides, 10 control rooms have been opened while medical teams and dry food kept stockpiled.
In Satkhira, coastal people were being evacuated to 110 cyclone shelters. Besides, 187 medical teams were ready to provide emergency treatment.
Similar measures have also been taken in other coastal districts to minimise possible losses from the cyclone.
Source: UNB Connect