At least 14 people were killed in Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali and Pirojpur as Cyclone Mahasen made its way through the coastal belts of the country on Thursday.
Nurul Islam, Barisal divisional commissioner, told The Daily Star that the authorities had confirmed the death of 14 people from the cyclone. Of them, seven died in Barguna, four in Bhola, two in Patuakhali and one in Pirojpur, he added.
Cyclone Mahasen made landfall at Kuakata in Patuakhali around 9:00am Thursday, after journeying over 1,700 kilometres from its place of origin in the Bay of Bengal.
The full account of the destruction was not available immediately.
But our correspondents confirmed that at least nine people have died in Patuakhali, Barguna and Bhola districts as the slow-paced cyclonic storm left a trail of destruction along its trajectory.
Maintaining a 21kilometer per hour (kph) race for quite a few hours, the cyclonic storm lashed Kuakata coast, a very popular tourist destination, on its course to hit some more coastal districts.
Mahasen, which developed into a cyclonic storm from an area of low pressure over the southern Bay of Bengal in early May, later journeyed towards Rangabali upazila, according to officials of local Met office.
The cyclone later moved eastwards to Rangabali upazila of the district and Charfassion of Bhola, added the officials.
Meanwhile, talking to The Daily Star, Anisur Rahman, project implementation officer of Charfassion Upazila Control Room, said the cyclone lashed Char Kukri Mukri, a remote island of Bhola, around 10:00am creating havoc.
After hitting Char Kukri Mukri, the cyclone struck Monpura upazila around 12:30pm, according to the upazila control room sources.
The cyclone was centred about 150 kilometers southwest of Chittagong port, 140km southwest of Cox’s Bazar port and 140km south of Mongla port at 11:00am, Shah Alam, director of BMD told reporters during a press briefing at Met office Thursday morning.
Kalapara upazila is the worst affected area in Patuakhali, said Amitabh Sarkar, deputy commissioner of the district.
A 75-year old man died as a sharp branch of tree pierced through his abdomen when he tumbled on it amid strong gusty wind in Dhaligournagar area of Lalmohan upazila of Bhola around 8:15am, reported our correspondent.
Abdul Kashem was going to a shelter in the area, said Khandaker Mizanur Rahman, officer-in-charge (OC) of Lalmohan Police Station.
Meanwhile, Parvez, 6, died on the spot as a tree fell on his head at Char Madraz area of Charfassion upazila in Bhola district, our Bhola correspondent reported.
Syed Ali, 75, died when a tree collapsed on him at Ranipur village in Betagi upazila of Barguna around 3:30am.
Meanwhile, Siraj Akand, 80, died when a roadside tree fall on him around 7:00am at Balaikathi village in Sadar upazila of Patuakhali on Thursday.
He was going a shelter, said Amitabh Sarkar, deputy commissioner of Patuakhali.
Six-year old Amir Hossain of Bokultoli village in the same upazila died on heart attack hearing a sound of thunder.
Chan Miah, 65, of Chhoto Amkhola village in Taltoli upazila died when a branch of tree hit him when he was going to a shelter centre. He died on the spot.
Rizia Begum, 50, died when a tree collapsed on her tin-shed house around 8:00am at Banani Sorok in Golachipa upazila of Patuakhali district.
Meanwhile, Ishahaque Mia, 70, a retired teacher of primary school, died of cardiac arrest at about 7:30am at Karitas cyclone shelter in Mohipur bazaar of Kolapara upazila in the district, said Zahangir Hossain, upazila nirbahi officer.
Over 100 people were injured in house and tree collapses in Rangabali upazila of Patuakhali, said Liakat Ali, upazila nirbahi officer.
Around 15,000 thatched and tin-roofed houses were destroyed in the upazila due to gusty winds and heavy rainfall, he said.
According to witnesses, the whole structure of a tin-roofed residential hotel was razed to the ground and two others were damaged as the storm hit Kuakata with strong wind and heavy shower at 9:00am.
None of the boarders was injured as all of them were shifted to nearby cyclone centres before the cyclone made landfall.
Over 1,000 of kutcha houses in Kalapara, Golachipa, Dasmina and Rangabali upazilas of the district have been destroyed so far, said local Relief and Disaster Rehabilitation Department.
More than thousand thatched houses were damaged and trees were uprooted as the cyclone left a trail of destruction in Monpura upazila of Bhola district.
A number of trees were uprooted and tin-roofs of several houses were blown away in Barguna.
Total 123 millimeter rainfall was recorded in Patuakhali district in 12 hours till 6:00am Thursday, it said.
Coastal areas were remaining under five feet water around 10:00am when this report was filed.
Dhaka Meteorological Department (BMD) has lost communication with its sub-station in Bhola after the cyclone hit the area, Shah Alam, director of BMD told reporters during his briefing at 11:00am.
Several mobile phone towers were uprooted, disrupting telecommunication network.
There was no electricity in the seven upazilas of the district since 10:00pm Wednesday night. The district headquarters has been also facing blackout since 7:00am Thursday.
Power lines remained cut off in Barguna district since 2:30am early Thursday.
Road communication of Barguna with the other parts of the country came to a halt after the ferry and river vessel movement were suspended in the area.
Barisal also remain without power from 2:30am Thursday.
The authorities have raised the danger level to seven, on a scale of 1 to 11, for Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar ports. Coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal and their offshore islands and chars (shoals) will come under danger signal number seven.
Meantime, maritime port of Mongla has been advised to keep hoisted danger signal number five.
Pirojpur, Jhalkathi, Bagherhat, Khulna and Satkhira coastal districts and their offshore islands and chars will come under the danger signal.
According to the BMD bulletin, 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 90-100kph in gusts or squalls with heavy to very falls during the passage of the storm.
Meantime, Jhalkathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars are likely to experience wind speed up to 80-90kph in such gusts or squalls with heavy to very falls during the passage of the storm.
All fishing boats, trawlers and marine vessels over North Bay have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice.
Storm surge of 8-10 feet height above normal astronomical tide may inundate the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barisal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars.
Water Development Board of Barguna said the district inundated by storm surge of 6-7 feet height, leaving the district town under three feet water.
Strong wind has been blowing heavily in Dhahigournagar area of Lalmohan upazila in Bhola when this report was filed around 10:00am.
The storm surge washed away flood protection dams at north and south points at Goyalkhali Bazar in Mujibnagar union of Charfassion upazila in Bhola district, threatening three villages.