Amphan inflicts massive damage
Cyclone Amphan has left behind a trail of destruction in the country's coastal areas, affecting more than a million people in nine districts in Khulna and Barishal divisions.
At least 12 people were killed and nearly 2.20 lakh houses damaged by the cyclone that swept through the south-western part on Wednesday with a wind speed of over 150 kilometres per hour.
It destroyed standing crops, vegetables and fruits on 1.76 lakh hectares of land, uprooted millions of trees and damaged fish farms, said officials.
More than 200 bridges and culverts were damaged in the coastal districts.
According to a primary estimate, the cyclone caused damage worth around Tk 1,100 crore, Shah Kamal, senior secretary at the disaster management and relief ministry, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Also, around 100 villages were submerged as onrushing water breached protection embankments.
Water Resources Minister Zahid Faruk said 7.5 kms of protection embankments were washed away at 84 points in 13 districts.
"We will repair these embankments soon," he said in a statement.
Apart from the nine coastal districts, many areas in 17 adjacent districts were affected.
The cyclone made landfall on the Digha coast in India on Wednesday afternoon, ravaging parts of West Bengal. It then moved towards Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon, lashing the Sundarbans in its path. It claimed at least 72 lives in West Bengal.
Shah Kamal said they succeeded in keeping the casualty and damages to a minimum though Amphan was an extremely severe cyclone.
"We had formed a coordination committee comprising public representatives and members of the armed forces to face the natural disaster.
"We have once again proved that Bangladesh is a role model in tackling any natural disaster."
The cyclone hit 26 districts, of which three to four were very badly affected, he added.
More than 24 lakh people were moved to 14,636 permanent and temporary shelters in 19 coastal districts before the cyclone hit the country's coast.
At least 12 people were killed and three others injured as the cyclone battered the coastal districts on Wednesday.
Of the dead, two drowned and five were killed as trees fell on them.
The deaths were reported from Kalapara and Galachipa upazilas of Patuakhali; Charfashion and Borhanuddin upazilas of Bhola, Mathbaria and Indurkani upazilas of Pirojpur, Sadar upazila in Satkhira, Chowgachha upazila of Jashore and Sadar upazila in Jhenidah.
Amphan totally or partially damaged 82,000 houses in Khulna Division and another 60,000 in Barishal Division. It caused tidal surges that washed away several embankments in low-lying coastal areas.
Our correspondents from the two divisions reported that the cyclone rendered tens of thousands of people homeless, destroying thatched houses and uprooting trees.
Abdur Rakib from Dakkhin Shakuchia village in Bhola's Manpura Upazila said he and his family members spent Wednesday night at a cyclone centre.
When he returned home yesterday morning, he found that it had gone under water.
"We are yet to get any help," Rakib told this newspaper yesterday afternoon.
Another affected villager, Mansur Gazi from Shyamnagar in Satkhira, used to run a small grocery shop.
He along with his family members took refuge in a nearby cyclone shelter and spent Wednesday night there.
Yesterday morning, he went out of the shelter to check on his shop.
To his dismay, Mansur found that his grocery shop was completely destroyed by the cyclone. His house was also damaged.
"I used to run my family with the earnings from the small shop. But now everything is gone. I don't know how we will survive," he said.
According to sources at Khulna Divisional Commissioner's Office, 5.80 lakh people were affected in the three worst-hit districts -- Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat.
More than 32 kms of embankments were partially damaged and 133 villages went under water in the three districts due to heavy rains and tidal surges. Besides, mangoes worth around Tk 150 crore were damaged in Khulna Division.
Over 10,000 shrimp enclosures were washed away in Satkhira, Bagerhat and Khulna, according to fisheries offices in the districts.
Md Anwar Hossain Hawlader, commissioner of Khulna Division, said they were yet to complete the assessment of the damage.
"We are getting data from the district and upazila level and are still assessing it. We have not yet received information from some remote areas such as Dakkhin Bedkashi in Koyra upazila."
The commissioner said they were trying their best to provide assistance to the affected people in the region.
Barishal Divisional Commissioner Yamin Chowdhury said onrushing water damaged protection embankments and flooded some areas in four districts.
Around six lakh people were affected and 60,000 houses were fully or partially damaged in the division, said officials.
In Bhola, two-km stretch of the embankment in Manpura upazila was damaged and 20 villages were flooded, said Mohammed Masud Alam Siddique, deputy commissioner of the district.
Moreover, 4.81 lakh people were affected and more than 10,000 houses were fully or partially damaged in Patuakhali.
Eight kms of embankments were also damaged, said Md Matiul Alom Chowdhury, deputy commissioner in the district.
Around 50 lakh consumers of Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) in Barishal and Khulna divisions were left without electricity till last night.
"About 1.5 crore clients lost electricity after the cyclone hit the country. Till last night, we managed to restore power supply to around one crore users," BREB Chairman Maj Gen (retd) Moin Uddin told this newspaper.
DAMAGE OF SUNDARBANS
Initially, the forest department could not assess the extent of damage of the Sundarbans that took the brunt of the cyclone.
Amir Hossain Chowdhury, acting chief conservator of forest, said, they primarily learnt that many kewra trees were uprooted and all the 65 freshwater ponds inside the forest were flooded with seawater.
In a video message, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahabuddin said the government formed four committees to find out the extent of damage of the mangrove forest.
The committees were asked to submit reports within three working days, he mentioned.
Our correspondents from Khulna and Barishal divisions contributed to this report