Bangladesh: Mass evacuation as Cyclone Bulbul approaches


Operations in Kolkata airport have been suspended till 6 am Sunday while the West Bengal government said that over 1.2 lakh have been evacuated from coastal areas as the state braces for the severe cyclonic storm Bulbul to make landfall today evening.

The meeting of the NCMC, headed by cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, was informed by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that the cyclone has now intensified and is likely to cross the Bengal coast by Saturday evening. "Orange Warning" has been issued for 9 and 10 November for districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur where heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely to be expected at isolated places.

Bangladeshi State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman told journalists that officials have taken adequate preparation to evacuate people and livestock in the coastal areas.

He said there was no reports of casualties and rejected reports in local media that dozens of local fishermen were missing on the southern coast.

As the day progressed, volunteers used loudspeakers to ask people to move to shelters in Chittagong and other regions, according to the disaster management ministry.

The weather office said coastal districts were likely to be inundated by storm surges of 1½-2 meters (5-7 feet) above normal tide because of the impact of the cyclone.

Kolkata: Heavy rain triggered by very severe cyclonic storm "Bulbul" on Saturday lashed coastal West Bengal, uprooted trees leading to the death of one person in the city and causing traffic snarls, officials said.

The latest met office bulletin said Bulbul was 280 km southwest of Bangladesh's southwestern Mongla Port and 315 km southwest of Payra Port while it was moving in a north/northeastern direction.

Indian authorities said military ships and planes have been put on standby to assist with emergencies.

Packing winds of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 130 kph (80 mph), Cyclone Bulbul weakened when it started crossing Bangladesh's southwestern coastal region, dumping incessant rains across the country.

In 1999, a super-cyclone battered the coast of India's Odisha state for 30 hours, killing 10,000 people.

While the frequency and intensity have increased, partly due to climate change, the death tolls have come down because of faster evacuations and the building of 4,000 cyclone shelters along the coast.