Nearly 150,000 people have been rendered homeless in Bangladesh after a tropical cyclone from the Bay of Bengal pounded the coastal districts of the South Asian country, officials said on Sunday.
Those who lost their homes have been staying either at state-run shelters or in the open as the cyclone razed their homes to ground, Reaz Ahmed, chief of Bangladesh's disaster management department, told dpa by phone.
Cyclone Roanu swept 15 coastal districts along the Bay of Bengal on Saturday, leaving 24 people killed and scores of others wounded, Ahmed said.
Local administrations in the districts were asked to report on the disaster in three days since the rehabilitation of those affected by the cyclone will begin based on the assessment, Ahmed said.
"Consignments of emergency food supply along with hard cash have been despatched to the remote villages immediately after the cyclone was over," added the official.
Nearly 25,000 homesteads, most of them owned by poor farmers and people from fishing communities, were completely destroyed, and another 60,000 others were partially damaged, said Salahuddin Ahmed, an on-duty officer at the disaster management control room.
The Dhaka meteorological office said that the cyclone hit the coastal Chittagong district on Saturday with wind speeds between 62 and 88 kilometres per hour within 54 square kilometre of its centre.
"The cyclone lost strength after it made the landfall," meteorologist Abdur Rahman said, withdrawing warnings issued earlier for the maritime ports and coastal residents.
Operations began at the main Chittagong port, 24 hours after the authorities suspended activities because of the inclement weather, said Mohamamd Zafar Alam, a senior official at the Chittagong Port Authority.
The government evacuated more than 500,000 residents from coastal districts, Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury said.
The authorities have allowed traffic on the river routes across the country after the cyclone weakened.
Flight operations at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong resumed in the morning, airport manager Wing Commander Riazul Karim said.