Fishing boats are anchored on the coast in Cox's Bazar, coming back from the Bay with cyclone Mahasen slowly moving towards the country and the Met office issuing danger signal-IV yesterday. Photo: Focus Bangla
The cyclone Mahasen, although according to the Met office is not very strong, has changed its course and may hit Bangladesh coast anytime tomorrow.
The Met office said it was hard to pin-point the time and location that Mahasen might hit, as the cyclone had been changing directions. It might hit Teknaf-Aquib coast or Chittagong or the Sundarbans, said senior Met official Shah Alam Bhuiyan.
The weather office has raised the cautionary signal from three to four, which means there is a possibility that the cyclone may hit the country, said a Met official.
All fishing boats, trawlers and marine vessels have been asked not to venture to the deep sea and remain near the coast.
At midnight, the Met office in special bulletin-14 said the eye of Mahasen was about 1,235km south-southwest of Chittagong port, 1,160km south-southwest of Cox's Bazar port and 1,145km south-southwest of Mongla port.
Although the cyclone was not yet very strong [with average wind velocity of 54-62km per hour at the centre], it was likely to intensify further and move towards the north at a speed of 10 to 12km per hour, the bulletin said.
Trained volunteers of the Cyclonic Preparedness Programme (CPP) have been disseminating warning messages in 322 unions of 35 upazilas along the coast over mobile phones and loudspeakers of mosques, said sources at disaster management ministry.
Meanwhile, unloading of cargo vessels at the outer anchorage of Chittagong Port has been suspended since yesterday afternoon, reports our Chittagong office.
The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) declared security alerts for the port. However, loading and unloading of vessels berthed at the port jetties were going on.
A total of 25 lighter vessels had been brought in to the river Karnaphuli from the outer anchorage, leaving unloading of 10 big vessels incomplete, he added.
The disaster preparedness committee, led by secretary of the Disaster Management ministry, yesterday held a meeting to make preparations for potential crisis.
Meanwhile, officials of the health ministry had been asked not to leave their workstations until the crisis passed, said a government release. The ministry has opened cyclone control centres from national to union levels.