22 killed as Cyclone Roanu pounds Bangladesh coast

At least 22 people were killed after a tropical cyclone over the Bay of Bengal made landfall on the Bangladeshi coast, officials said Saturday.

Most of the causalities were reported from the south-eastern district of Chittagong, where kilometres of coastal embankments washed away with the landfall of the Cyclone Roanu in the afternoon.

Twelve people were killed and four others went missing in Chittagong after the cyclone swept the coastal areas, Mesbah Uddind, chief administrator of the south-eastern district told reporters based on primary information.

More than 50,000 homesteads were damaged while nearly 250,000 costal residents got marooned because a surge washed away more than 20 kilometres of embankments, he said, adding that cattle and crops in the area were also destroyed.

Gusts as strong as 62 to 88 kilometres per hour and heavy rain left a trail of destruction on costal districts, uprooting many trees and damaging homes and businesses.

The cyclonic storm weakened after landfall, but heavy rains were expected to continue for several more hours, said Shamsuddin Ahmed, a senior official at the Dhaka meteorological office. 

Three people were killed by falling trees late Friday in Bhola district, 160 kilometres south of Dhaka, local government official Jalal Uddin said.

Television footage showed shops and homes damaged in the remote township of Tazumuddin.

One died in neighbouring Patuakhali district when a house collapsed Saturday, police officer Azharul Islam told dpa.

Two of the 12 who died in Chittagong, including one child, were killed after a tree fell on their home in Sitakundu, said Nazmul Islam Bhuiyan, chief administrative officer of the sub-district.

A child died after he was hit by a stone dislodged in high winds from a building that was under construction in the Panchlaish area of the city, on-duty doctors at Chittagong Medical College Hospital said.

Seven people died after an embankment washed away in Banshkhali sub-district, while two others were killed after their houses collapsed on them, Chittagong district administrator Mesbah Uddind said.

Three people were killed on Kutubdia island in the southern Cox's Bazar district, police officer Angsha Thoai said.

Three more people died in Hatiya, an offshore island of Noakhali district, local government official Abu Hasnat Mohammad Moinuddin said.    

The government evacuated more than 500,000 residents from coastal districts, Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury said.

"We have taken every possible precaution," Chowdhury said.

Nearly 2.1 million people living in 18 coastal districts have been told to prepare to move to more than 3,500 cyclone shelters when necessary.

More than 55,000 volunteers were on standby to help with the evacuation.

The authorities have partially allowed traffic on the river routes after the cyclone weakened, but operations at the main port of Chittagong were suspended due to the conditions.

Low-lying areas and offshore islands may experience tides of 1 to 1.5 metres above normal from the storm surge as the cyclone passes, authorities said.

Last update: Sat, 21/05/2016 - 22:52

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