Around 30 stalls at the Ekushey Boi Mela were damaged by the strong winds and heavy rainfall last night.
Some publishers could not get there in time to move their stocks, as a result of which many stalls collapsed and books were damaged. Many visitors got stuck at the Suhwardy Uddyan premises as the storm intensified, taking refuge at the "Lekhok Bolchi" stage; book fair organisers and volunteers took shelter inside the stall pavilion. A power outage drenched the entire event in darkness for some time.
"Two of our signboards have cracked and several books were ruined by rainfall", Ahmed Mahmudul, publisher of Mawlana Brothers, told The Daily Star. Tawfiq Mezbah, a volunteer manning the Daily Star Books stall, witnessed many stalls collapsing or becoming partially damaged, including those belonging to Behula Bangla, Babui Prokashani, Intamin, and Aditya Anik Prokashani among others. Some nameplates at the pavilion were also reported to have been damaged.
"Publishers will have to double their efforts to compensate for the losses caused by the COVID-19 and natural disasters", Khan Mahbub, publisher of Pallal Prokashok, said.
Jalal Ahmed, member secretary of the book fair committee, was unavailable for comment on the overall impact on the event.
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