A cyclone has battered the coast of Bangladesh on Saturday, killing at least 14 people and injuring more than 100 after lashing India’s east coast with heavy rain and wind, according to local media reports.
Authorities in low-lying Bangladesh have relocated about 500,000 people into 3,500 shelters, the disaster minister said on Saturday, even as Cyclone Roanu killed seven people in house collapses as trees fell on them and two more in landslides.
Tanvir Chowdhury, reporting from Dhaka, said the damage was expected to “be far worse”.
Local media outlets report that at least 14 people have been killed. “That toll could rise because a lot of people who live in the remote coastal islands are fishermen and farmers,” he added, explaining that authorities will not be able to access these areas until late on Saturday or Sunday.
“The real impact can be seen tomorrow when we visit these islands and see how many people are missing,” Chowdhury said.
“We’ve shifted most of the people who are vulnerable,” Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya told a news conference.
“All-out preparations are in place to tackle the damage.”
Several people were injured after gusty winds damaged houses and shops and uprooted trees and electric poles. Several areas were inundated by a storm surge of 3-4 foot above normal tide height, officials said.
Authorities are now evacuating people from the hilly region in the Chittagong port city amid fears that heavy rains might cause more landslides.
Officials suspended flights at Chittagong airport in the southeast while the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority imposed restrictions on the movement of all ships and ferries.
“The sea will remain very rough near the cyclone centre,” it said.
Disaster authorities have shut down sea and river ports and ordered fishing trawlers not to go out, while the meteorological department warned of landslides in southeastern hill districts.
Disaster officials told AFP Friday night that they were prepared to move more than two million people to nearly 4,000 cyclone shelters in the country’s south.