Bangladesh: evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people as a cyclone approaches

Bangladesh: Evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people as a cyclone


Hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh are being evacuated from coastal areas as a powerful cyclone approaches which is expected to cause a three-meter storm when it makes landfall early on Tuesday, according to reports. authorities.  

Cyclone Sitrang is expected to hit the southern coastal town of Khepupara on Tuesday morning, according to the weather bureau. 

According to authorities, a three-meter high storm surge could occur and inundate a large area of ​​lowlands along the coast of Bangladesh, where millions of people live.  

“ Evacuation operations have already started,” government secretary for disaster management Kamrul Hasan told AFP. 

Up to 400,000 people from vulnerable villages and coastal areas will be evacuated to shelters, government administrators in the coastal districts of Patuakhali, Bhola, Barguna and Jhalakathi have said. 

“We have a plan to evacuate some 250,000 people” by Monday evening, Patuakhali district administrator Kamal Hossain told AFP. 

In Barguna, authorities plan to relocate 70,000 people who live outside the dyke system, district chief Habibur Rahman told AFP.  

Further east, on Bhashan Char Island in the Bay of Bengal, home to some 33,000 Rohingya refugees and whose recent relocation remains controversial, authorities have advised residents not to go out. 

“The shelters of Bhashan Char are protected by a dyke more than five meters high. But we still asked people to stay at home,” a security official told AFP from the island.

Bangladeshi authorities have also dispatched dry food to coastal districts and reinforced hospital teams in rural areas of the region. 

The Red Crescent Society has also mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers to alert the population by loudspeaker and help evacuate them to shelters, Shahinur Rahman, a spokesperson for the company, told AFP. 

Bangladesh, a country of about 170 million inhabitants, is ranked among the countries most affected by extreme weather events since the beginning of the century, according to the UN. 

According to scientists, it is likely that global warming makes cyclones more intense and more frequent in South Asian countries bordering the Bay of Bengal, but evacuation procedures have also greatly improved thanks to more accurate forecasts.

En 2020, Cyclone Amphan, the second “super cyclone” on record in the Bay of Bengal, caused more than 100 deaths in Bangladesh and India and several million victims.