Millennium Post

Death toll from Cyclone Bulbul in Bangladesh touches 13: Reports

Dhaka: At least 13 people were killed and over 20 others injured as Cyclone Bulbul wreaked havoc in Bangladesh, destroying houses, trees and displacing thousands of people, media reports said on Monday.

The cyclone packed winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour made a predawn landfall in Bangladesh on Sunday.

The cyclone, which later became a deep depression, ravaged about 5,000 homes in the country's south-western coastal districts, the reported.

"There have been 13 deaths till now," the government authorities were quoted as saying in the report.

The deaths caused are in various parts of Southern Bangladesh-- Khulna, Barguna and Gopalganj among others.

In Shariatpur, a 65-year-old man was killed while sleeping, after a tree fell over his house, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Similarly, two people, including a woman, died in Gopalganj in two separate incidents as trees fell over them due to the storm.

"The cyclone ravaged about 5,000 homes in the country's south-western coastal districts," Enamur Rahman, the State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief, was quoted as saying.

The authorities have ordered a temporary ban on boat and ferry movements in internal riverine routes and coastal waters, besides closing air traffic operations near coastal airports for nearly 24 hours. The Bangladesh government also made arrangements of safety shelters for those affected.

"As many as 5,787 safety shelters harboured over 2.1 million people during the cyclone," Rahman said.

He said the storm has caused some damage to winter crops.

"The agriculture ministry will assess the damage after which we will extend the necessary assistance," he said.

The government suspended weekend leave for government officials in 13 coastal districts on Saturday. The army troops were also called in to supplement the cyclone preparedness, the report said.

Authorities also suspended all activities in the country's seaports, including in Chattogram Port, which handles almost 80 per cent of Bangladesh's exports and imports.

According to US-based AccuWeather Inc, Bulbul strengthened from a deep depression into a tropical cyclone on Thursday morning, and by Friday afternoon had strengthened into a severe cyclone. Bulbul was the equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane in the Atlantic, it said.

Bangladesh's coastal areas are often hit by deadly cyclones, but the country has upgraded its capacity to deal with natural disasters, successfully reducing the number of casualties in recent years.

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