POST TIME: 3 May, 2019 12:00:09 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 May, 2019 08:30:24 AM
Cyclone likely to hit Bangladesh today
Fani set to make landfall in Indian Odisha coast first

Cyclone likely to hit Bangladesh today

Two fishermen return with their fishing equipment, anchoring their boat at Rashmoni Ghat at Kattoli in Chattogram yesterday as tropical cyclone ‘Fani’ is likely to hit Bangladesh this evening. Inset, a satellite image shows the position of extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani in the Bay of Bengal on May 01. STAR MAIL PHOTO

Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Fani (Pronounced: Foni) is advancing towards the coast of Odisha in India, and the storm is likely to reach Bangladesh this evening (Friday) or later at night, affecting 19 districts in the southern part of the country.
The Met Office has advised Mongla and Payra ports to hoist danger signal number 7, while maritime ports in Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar have been asked to show danger signal number 6. The maximum sustained wind speed within 74 km of the storm centre of Fani is about 160kmph, rising to 180kmph in gusts or squalls. The storm is advancing towards the coast at a speed of 27 km per hour.
The Indian weather service said the cyclonic storm should make landfall today around noon (0630 GMT) in Odisha state and barrel north-northeastwards towards Bangladesh on a pathway that is home to more than 100 million people.
As it progresses into West Bengal
state it should weaken gradually into a severe cyclonic storm with winds of 90-100 kph and gusts of 115 kph before entering Bangladesh as a cyclonic storm on Saturday evening with winds of 60-70 kph.
The government has cancelled the leave of all staff and officials in 19 coastal districts. The Army has been asked to be prepared for quick response to face the storm.
Fani was centered 915km south-west of Mongla port and 925km south-west of Payra port at 9am yesterday (Thursday) morning.
The cyclone is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northeasterly direction, the Met Office said.  Fani is likely to reach Khulna and the adjoining south-western part of Bangladesh by Friday evening.

The next 24 hours is very critical to determine the path and strength of the cyclone, said Met Officer Director Shamsuddin Ahmed at a briefing in the capital yesterday.

Coastal districts of Bhola, Noakhali, Chandpur, Feni, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars will come under danger signal number seven, the weather office said.

Flooding has been forecast for low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Chuadanga, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands.

The Met Office said these areas are likely to be inundated by four to five feet high storm surges under the influence of Fani and the new moon phase. The Indian Meteorological Department said along with “extremely heavy” rainfall in places, a storm surge of about 1.5 metres (five feet) is “very likely” to inundate some low-lying areas in Odisha on Friday.

Fani is considered one of the most dangerous storms in the Indian subcontinent 43 years after the Andhra Pradesh cyclone. The devastating tropical cyclone had hit Andhra Pradesh in November 1977, killing at least 10,000 people.  Danger signal number 6 is also effective for coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur and their offshore islands.

Our Noakhali Correspondent adds: The Hatiya sea route has suspended movement of ships and steamers. The vessels have been asked to lay anchor in safer places. Emergency meetings were held at the offices of the Noakhali and Laxmipur deputy commissioners regarding the storm.

The meetings decided to shut the Hatiya and Ramgati and Mouchowdhury ghat sea routes as a precautionary measure. The DC of Noakhali, Tammoy Das, said the administration has opened control rooms in 19 districts.

All fishing boats and trawlers have been advised to remain close to the cost and proceed with caution so that they can take shelter within a short notice. The Noakhali DC told The Independent that nearly 6,000 dry food packets have been readied to be supplied to 250 cyclone centres. Vehicles carrying 200 tonnes of rice are also ready, he added. He said a medical team is ready to provide treatment. They also hoisted red flags at Hatiya, Subarnchar, Companigonj and Kabirhat and asked people to move to cyclone shelters to avoid casualties.

Chandpur Correspondent reports: The local administration has suspended plying of all scheduled passenger launches between Chandpur-Dhaka, Narayanganj, Shariotpur and other places since yesterday noon. The port officer of BIWTA, Md Abdur Razzaque, told The Independent that until further notice, plying of launches between these routes will remain closed.

The DC of Chandpur, Majedur Rahman Khan, told this correspondent that they have taken all precautionary measures to face any calamity.

The upazila administrations are also ready to stand by the affected people.

BIWTA suspends water transport services

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) yesterday suspended all water transport services across the country. The movement of launches, ferries and speedboats will remain halted on all waterways until further notice, said Alamgir Kabir, join director (traffic) of the BIWTA. The BIWTA also cancelled the leave of all its officials and employees posted at river ports. Besides, the department and offices under the shipping ministry will remain open on May 3 and 4.

Chattogram port stops dock activities

Export-import activities at the Chattogram port has been shut down for the storm. Loading and unloading have been stopped and the ships at jetties sent to outer anchorage yesterday for safe harbour.

Light vessels have been sent upstream of the Karnaphuli river for safe anchoring and the port hoisted its second-highest danger signal.

The Chittagong Port Authority secretary, Omar Faruque, told this correspondent that activities at the docks were stopped since 10:00am yesterday. According to port sources, 168 ships were at the Chattogram port. Of them, 147 were in the outer anchorage.

A total of 21 ships were sent away from jetties to the fleet of 59 other mother ships harboured in the outer anchorage region till the filing of this report. At the port, the authorities hoisted their own alert number 3, the second highest alert as per its Cyclone Disaster Preparedness and Post-Cyclone Rehabilitation Plan of 1992.

Fishing boats and trawlers take shelter in safe places

All fishing boats and trawlers in the North Bay and deep sea have been advised to remain close to the coast and proceed with caution so that they can take shelter within a short notice.

After receiving the warnings, the fishermen have started to return to the shore areas to anchor their fishing boats and trawlers in safe places. Most of them anchored their boats in the city’s fishery ghats and Karnaphuli river banks.

Control rooms opened

Control rooms have been opened in 19 coastal districts, additional secretary of the disaster management and relief ministry, Utpal Kumar Das, told this correspondent. Besides, Bangladesh Red Crescent has also opened control rooms. The staff of Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) have started their activities in the coastal areas. Messages were also sent to Army stations near the coastal areas regarding the cyclonic storm.