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9 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 November, 2019 01:47:32 AM

Country braces for ‘Bulbul’

The very severe cyclonic storm is likely to make landfall this evening with 5-7 feet surge in the south western coast of the country
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka with OUR CORRESPONDENTS, Patuakhali, Noakhali
Country braces for ‘Bulbul’
(Top) Fishing boats remain anchored amid high waves near the coast in Patenga of Chattogram yesterday as the ocean turns choppy under the influence of cyclone ‘Bulbul’; members of tourist police, using a megaphone, caution people on the Kuakata beach in Patuakhali about the cyclone and the rough sea. Focus Bangla Photos

Cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ is likely to hit the southwest coastal areas of Bangladesh between Saturday evening and midnight, said the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) yesterday. “The exact time when Bulbul will strike cannot be said now, but it may hit Bangladesh anytime after Saturday evening,” said Mosammat Ayesha Khatun, deputy director of the BMD. “Bulbul” was still about 600 km from the Bangladesh coast and advancing at 10km per hour towards Bangladesh and India’s West Bengal, she said.

“We are keeping the cyclonic storm’s nature of motion under observation,” the meteorologist added.

She said the height of the water can rise by five to seven feet when the cyclone hits the coastal areas.  

The maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been advised to keep the cautionary signal no. 7 hoisted, instead of signal no. 4. The Chattogram Port has been asked to hoist cautionary signal no. 6 and Cox's Bazar signal Port signal no. 4. The severe cyclonic storm over the west-central bay and the adjoining east-central bay moved northwards, and intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm over the same area at 6pm yesterday.

It was centred about 625km southwest of Chattogram Port, 585km southwest of Cox’s Bazar Port, 495km southwest of Mongla Port and 490 km southwest of Payra Port, the Met office said in a special weather bulletin.

It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northwesterly direction. Under the peripheral influence of the severe cyclonic storm “Bulbul”, gusty/squally weather may affect the maritime ports, North Bay and the coastal areas of Bangladesh. The maximum sustained wind speed within 74 km of the severe cyclone centre is about 120 kph rising to 140 kph in gusts/squalls. The sea will remain very rough near the severe cyclone centre, the Met office added.

Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhut, Barguna, Pirojpur, Patuakhgali and Bhola have been identified as vulnerable areas for "Bulbul", said an official of the Met office.

Around 1,200 tourists have been stranded at St Martin's Island as ship services on the Teknaf to St. Martin sea route has been halted due to the adverse weather.

Additional deputy commissioner (revenue) Md Asharaful Afsar, ordered the halting of ship services until further notice after maritime ports of Chattogram were asked to hoist signal no. 6 yesterday.

Meanwhile, the examinations of Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC), scheduled for today, have been postponed due to cyclone, reports UNB.

The postponed JSC exam will be held on November 12, said MA Khair, public relations officer of Education Ministry. Besides, he said, the postponed JDC exam will be held on November 14. State minister for disaster management and   relief, Dr Md Enamur Rahman, said the government has made all preparations to combat the cyclonic storm.

The government has cancelled the leave of officials and staff of 22 ministries, as well as officials and staff at district and upazila levels.  The ministry concerned has asked all its officials and employees not to leave their respective stations during the period. The state minister came up with the decision after a meeting of the "Bulbul" monitoring cell at the secretariat yesterday. He said coastal centres and cyclone shelters have been given instructions to be prepared. A directive was also issued to send 2,000 packets of dry food and Tk. 5 lakh in cash to each cyclone centre.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed residents of coastal districts to preserve necessary food and materials in 'Paribarik Silos' (family silo) provided by the government,” the state minister added.

Talking to The Independent, St. Martin Union Parishad chairman Nur Ahmad, said: "Adequate security measures have been taken for the stranded tourists. The hotel authorities have been asked to provide services to them without any inconvenience. There are five cyclone shelters and several multi-storeyed buildings on the island. We will move the tourists there if the maritime ports raise the signal number."

Meanwhile, loading and unloading of goods from mother vessels at the outer anchorage of Chattogram Port remained suspended, according to the Water Transport Cell and Chittagong Port Authority.

Besides, the Bangladesh Water Development Board has cancelled the weekly holidays of all employees of the board in the coastal districts.  

The southwestern coastal districts have made all preparations and kept 1,377 cyclone shelters ready. “Bulbul” has triggered rainfall in the coastal areas, as the cyclonic storm over the Bay is heading towards Bangladesh. It started raining in the districts around yesterday afternoon.

Our Correspondent from Patuakhali adds: the Southern Bay of Bengal adjacent to Kuakata has got affected by cyclone Bulbul. Due to the gusty weather, it has been drizzling in the entire coastal area of Patuakhali since Thursday night. A gloomy look still persists in the coastal skies. All fishing trawlers have started taking safe shelter along the shoreline since yesterday morning when weather warning number 4 was hoisted at the Paira sea port and its adjoining areas.

At that time, a fisherman named Jellal Hossain from near tamarisk garden area in Kuakata went missing after falling from a fishing trawler named FB Kulsum in the sea. Owner of the trawler Md. Abul Kalam said they were returning from the sea after fishing along with 11 fishermen. Missing fisherman Jellal is inhabitant of Panchagarh while the trawler owner hails from Alipur under Kalapara upazila in Patuakhali.

Our Correspondent from Noakhali adds: cyclone bulbul affected Noakhali and Laxmipur coastal areas where low-lying areas got inundated by torrential rain and tidal surge yesterday afternoon. The sky wore a completely cloudy look. All fishing boats were on red–alert and asked to stay safe.

Nearly 30 villages under five Union Parishads (UPs) got inundated as flash flood hit the area Thursday night. Two more UPs -- Jasmera and Sonadia -- under Hatiya upazila of Noakhali got affected yesterday morning.

Hatiya upazila UNO said to The Independent that the flash flood affected low-lying areas following torrential rain and tidal surge.

UNB adds: People from the coastal regions started heading to shelters yesterday evening as the cyclone came closer. Sarankhola Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sardar Mostfa Shahin said some people have taken shelter at Bodi, Gabtola, and Tafalbari in Sarankhola upazila.

The Bagerhat district administration has prepared 234 cyclone shelters for 226,000 people and opened 10 control rooms. Medical teams, firefighters, Red Cross members and volunteers are on standby. All types of post-disaster measures have also been taken, Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner Md Mamun-ur-Rashid said.

Meanwhile, an estimated 8,000 fishermen are stranded in various chars, said Divisional Forest Officer Md Mahmudul Hasan of East Sundarbans zone. “They have been staying there since Nov 1 for processing dry fish,” he said.

The season will end in March. A number of fishermen have moved to safety. “Currently, 5,000 fishermen are at Alorkole and 3,000 others at various chars,” he said.  Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner Md Mamun-ur-Rashid said they are trying to evacuate the fishermen. “We hope to take them to safety within midnight,” he said.

Mongla Harbour Master Commander Faruk Uddin said the activities at the port were suspended after danger signal number 7 was issued.

All types of vessels were directed to take shelter at the port. A control room was opened, he added.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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