POST TIME: 10 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Cyclone Bulbul
Tourists stranded on St Martin’s
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Tourists stranded on St Martin’s

Around 1,200 tourists have become stranded in St Martin's Island as ship services of Teknaf to St. Martin’s sea route has been halted due to adverse weather ahead of Cyclone Bulbul. Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Md Asharaful Afsar ordered the halting of ship services until further notice after Maritime ports of Chattogram asked to hoist signal No 3 on November 7.

However, Maritime ports yesterday (Saturday) asked to hoist cautionary signal No 9, according to Meteorological Office. Mohammod Adil, a student of Jahangirnagar University who was stranded at Saint Martin, said for the first time he went to the Island, but was stuck on the islant due to Bulbul.

“We came here to visit for one day on last Thursday, but due to the cyclone we are stranded here. Our money is running out and we are scared of the strong wind and rain,” he said. Sumon, a Dhaka resident, said over the phone that he along with his 16 more friends went to the island for visiting. Due to the bad weather, no ship is moving between St. Martin and Teknaf. Thousands of tourists like them were stranded on the island, he said.

St. Martin Union Parishad Chairman Nur Ahmad said, “Adequate security measures have been taken for the stranded tourists.” “Hotels authorities have been asked to provide services to the tourists without any inconvenience. There are five cyclone shelters and several multi-storey buildings on the island. We will move the tourists there if the signal number is raised,” he added.

Ajmir Ilahi, in charge of Saint Martin police outpost said police are working day and night to protect the tourists trapped on the island.

Mujibur Rahman, president of Hotel Owner association of Saint Martin said, “As per direction of the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), we are offering a discount for the stranded tourists at the island.”

“Due to the bad weather, we are going to loss around Tk 1.5 crore revenue,” he added   

Meanwhile, thousands of tourists in Kuakata have been returning to their homes as severe cyclonic storm “Bulbul” is likely to hit coastal areas of Khulna and West Bengal by Saturday midnight.

The metrological department advised to hoist great danger signal No 10 for nine coastal districts in the region while danger signal No 9 for the maritime port of Chattogram and five nearby districts.

Local administrations asked the all tourists to leave the Kuakata Sea Beach.

Besides, as the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) suspended operations of all types of river vessels on all inner routes due to the cyclone ‘Bulbul’, thousands of tourists are suffering most.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Patuakhali district, Md Matiuar Islam Chowdhury said several tourists were taken shelter at local Masque and Mandir.  Police are cooperating to return to their district safely. Besides, the tourists are advised to go safely.