Evacuation begins, relief measures in place as Super cyclone Amphan nears Bangladesh Coast

Bangladesh has started evacuating people from the coastal areas which are likely to be affected as the Super Cyclonic storm Amphan moves closer to the Bangladesh coast.

Government has ordered evacuation of maximum number of people before midnight on Tuesday. State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman said on Tuesday that 12,078 shelters have been kept ready in 19 coastal districts.

According to the latest special bulletin released by the Met department of Bangladesh at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the super cyclone is likely to cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Chattogram during afternoon or evening of 20 May.

District Administrations, Mongla Port Authority (MPA), and other government agencies have started massive preparation to deal with the effect of the Super cyclonic storm Amphan in the Coastal belts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat and Barguna districts. The district administration in the coastal areas has kept ready relief material like food, water and medicine for the people likely to be affected by the cyclone. Attempt is being made to maintain social distancing while relocating people to the cyclone shelters.

Government agencies and volunteers are moving people from the coastal areas like Chattogram, Khulna, Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali and other coastal areas to cyclone shelters. It is estimated that approximately 18-20 lakh people will be evacuated before the cyclone Amphan hits the Bangladesh coast between Khulna and Chattogram within the next 24 hours till Wednesday night. Medical teams have also been deployed to look after people during evacuation and in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Transport through waterways including ferry services have been suspended across Bangladesh as a precautionary measure. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate Navy has deployed 25 ships to for emergency rescue and relief operations. Maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters are also on standby for search operations over the bay of Bengal and other coastal districts.

According to the special weather bulletin of the Met Department of Bangladesh issued on Tuesday at 6 p.m., the super cyclone is now centred about 775 kilometre Southwest of Chattogram port, 730 kilometre Southwest of Cox’s Bazar port, 600 kilometre South Southwest of Mongla port and 650 kilometre South Southwest of Payra port.

The bulletin said that maximum sustained speed within 85 km of the storm centre is 200 kilometers per hour (kmph) rising to 220 kmph in gusts. Sea will remain very high near the cyclone centre.

The maritime ports of Mongla and Payara have been asked to raise danger signal number 7.

The Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar ports have been asked to hoist the danger signal number 6.

The Met department warned that low lying areas of coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagherhat, Bhola, Barisal, Noakhali, Chattogram among others and their off shore islands are likely to be inundated by storm surge of 4-5 feet height above normal astronomical tide. These areas are also likely to experience wind speed upto 140-160 kilometres per hour with heavy to very heavy rainfall during the passage of the storm.

Mild rain has started in some areas like Bhola, Patuakhali and nearby areas.

The Met department has instructed all the boats and trawlers over the North bay and deep sea to take shelter immediately and not venture into the sea till further notice.