The southwestern districts as well as port city Chattogram that lies in the southeast coast of the country are bracing for Cyclone Fani, which is likely barrel through Bangladesh after expectedly making landfall in the Indian city of Puri today evening.
Met office has already hoisted danger signal number six for Payra and Mongla ports in the south western belts and raised signal number six for Chattogram port. Activities in those ports have already been suspended and vessels anchored in those ports have been transferred to safe locations.
The weathermen also asked to hoist danger signal-7 in coastal districts of Patuakhali, Bhola, Barguna, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira. They also feared that cyclone Fani would create 4-5 feet storm surges above normal height, which means off shore areas along the costal belt and inland char areas run the severe risk of being inundated.
The administrations in association with the disaster management authority and other bodies in those districts have been working round the clock to face the severe cyclonic storm.
The authorities have opened 1,755 cyclone shelters in Barishal, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barguna and Pirojpur and over 25,000 volunteers are working, said Abdur Rashid, deputy director, Cyclone Preparedness Programme.
Administration in those districts are using loudspeakers asking people to go to cyclone centres, requesting farmers to harvest their paddy if possible, taking possible measures to protect already damaged dams and persuading people in char areas to take shelter in high land along with their domestic animals, reports our correspondents from those districts.
Mohammad Helal Hossain, deputy commissioners of Khulna, told The Daily Star that warning announcements were being made through loudspeakers in upazila level.
Besides, Department of Disaster Management is monitoring the overall situation of the nine upazilas especially Dacope, Koyra, Paikgachha, Batiaghata upazila which are more vulnerable for disaster, he said.
Fifteen vessels anchored in Mogla port’s jetty and outer anchorage were shifted to a safe place and load and unload of goods have been suspended, said Mongla Port Authority’s Herbour Master Durul Huda.
The Bagerhat district administration was also working hard to shift people living in coastal villages to cyclone shelters.
Chattogram District Administration has taken full preparation to protect the people from the probable effect of Cyclone Fani.
Movement of vessels and boats were stopped in different waterways including Sandwip, Hatiya and Kutubdia routes.
Loading and off-loading operation remained suspended in Chattogram port while the vessels anchored in different jetties were being taken to safe areas, said port sources.
In Banshkhali upazila, 102 cyclone shelters were ready to give shelter to the people, said Momena Akter, upazila nirbahi officer of the upazila, adding, besides, 169 primary schools, 23 high schools, 27 madrasas and five colleges would also be used as cyclone shelters if necessary.
Pirojpur district administration asked the farmers concerned to harvest their paddy as quickly as possible.
Farmers have collected fifty percent crops from the fields, said Digbijoy Hazra, Nazirpur upazila agriculture officer in the district.
Bhola and Jhalakathi
Bhola and Jhalakathi district administrations have taken all precautionary measures to minimise the loss.
“We have already started transferring people to safe places from different chars (island) mostly vulnerable with the help of coast guard,” said Mohammed Masud Alom Siddique, deputy commissioner of Bhola.
From Barishal port operations of all water vessels have been suspended indefinitely, said Ajmol Huda Mithu, deputy director (Water Transport and Safety) of Bangladesh Inland Water transport Authority (BIWTA).