Dhaka, May 30 (IANS) Cyclone Mora hit Bangladesh on Tuesday with heavy winds and rain with nearly 300,000 people from 10 coastal districts already evacuated, the media reported.
The powerful storm made landfall around 6 a.m. in Kutubdia, near the fishing port of Cox’s Bazar, bdnews24 quoted the Bangladesh Meteorological Department as saying.
The Met office was expecting a four-to-five-feet high sea surge during the storm but it turned out to be lower as the cyclone made landfall during low tide.
The very warm waters of the Bay of Bengal caused a tropical low to develop into a depression on Sunday morning, which upgraded into a deep depression by the afternoon.
The depression turned into a cyclonic storm by early Monday morning, and by evening the warning signal was upgraded to the highest level after it turned into a severe cyclonic storm — equivalent to a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane.
The maximum sustained wind speed rose to 100 km per hour in gusts and squalls in some areas as the cyclone cut through the Cox’s Bazar-Chittagong coast, said Shamsuddin Ahmed, director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
Cox’s Bazar district administration said some 538 shelters were ready to accommodate more than 500,000 people, reports bdnews24.
A total of 88 medical units, 6,010 local volunteers and 15,000 Red Crescent volunteers were on alert, while about 50,000 more volunteers were on standby in 19 coastal districts, according to Abu Syed Mohammad Hashim, director of the Disaster Management Department.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has set up 24-hour control rooms.
About 18 million people live in 19 coastal districts, with 10 of them being at high-risk areas.
The country’s two main seaports in Chittagong and Mongla have stopped operations, and river transport across Bangladesh has been suspended.