All-out preparations taken to tackle Cyclone Bulbul
The storm danger signal was raised in the country on Saturday noon as Cyclone Bulbul intensified further. Maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been asked to lower danger signal number 7 but instead raise great danger signal number 10, the Met Office said in a special bulletin.
Low-lying areas of coastal districts started inundating by storm surge above normal tide because of the cyclone.
"Coastal districts of Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagherhat, Khulna, and Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars will come under great danger signal number 10," it said.
The maritime port of Chattogram was "advised to lower danger signal number 6, but instead hoist great danger signal number 9". On the other hand, the maritime port of Cox's Bazar was advised to keep hoisted local warning signal number 4.
The offshore islands and chars of coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, and Chandpur will come under great danger signal No 9, the bulletin mentioned.
Our correspondents from all the coastal districts reported that government has taken all-out preparations to minimise unnecessary loss of lives and properties. The authorities have evacuated people from their homes and took them to the cyclone shelters. Leaves of all officials, employees, doctors and nurses have been cancelled and kept them standby to face consequences of the cyclonic storm.
Sufficient volunteers including members of Red Crescent Society were prepared to cope with the disasters.
Announcement through loud-speakers was made for raising awareness about the cyclone.Launch services were also suspended from Friday night. The Navy said it has kept five ships ready at Khulna BNS Titumir for emergency relief and rescue operations in Khulna, Barishal, Patuakhali, Jhalakathi, and Barguna.
On Saturday noon, Cyclone 'Bulbul' was about 280km southwest of Mongla port, 315km southwest of Payra Port, 475km southwest of Chattogram Port, and 470km southwest of Cox's Bazar Port.
The Maximum sustained wind speed within 74kms of the very severe cyclone centre is about 130kph and it may reach 150kph. It is set to cross West Bengal-Khulna coast near the Sundarbans by the evening, the Met Office said.
Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barishal, Bhola, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Barguna, and Patuakhali are likely to experience wind speed up to 120kph with heavy to very heavy rainfall during the passage of the storm.
Our Barishal and Bhola correspondents add, using hand mikes, Cyclone Preparatory Programme (CPP) volunteers instructed people about their doings before the cyclone hits the region.
A total of 232 shelters and one control room have been opened in Barishal. Deputy Commissioner (DC) SM Ajiar Rahman said, "We already ordered upazila nirbahi officers to be prepared for the cyclone. We directed union parishad chairman in every upazila about preparation and forbade fishermen not to ply boat in the sea."
Deputy Director (DD) of CPP Abdur Rashid said, "Our 55,000 volunteers have been kept ready in 40 upazilas of coastal region."
On the other hand, a total of 648 cyclone shelters have been prepared, eight control rooms have been opened and 92 medical teams have been formed in Bhola, said its DC Md Masud Alam Siddiq after a meeting on Friday.
DD of CPP Md Shahabuddin Miah said a total of 1,200 volunteers are working at the field level, and they have already started awareness programmes.
Our Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira correspondents add, Khulna and Bagerhat district administrations, Mongla Port Authority, Bangladesh Navy, and Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) of Mongla West Zone have taken massive preparations to fight Cyclone 'Bulbul'.
Over three lakh coastal people were already taken to the 800 cyclone shelter centres in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts.
The khulna administration at an emergency meeting on Friday afternoon, chaired by DC Mohammad Helal Hossain, decided to keep standby medical teams with adequate relief materials including drinking water and dry foods in all shelter centres during pre- and post-cyclone situation.
District Disaster Management Committee chaired by Acting Divisional Commissioner Subash Chandra Saha also called on an emergency meeting on Friday afternoon.
The meeting was addressed, among others, by Officer of District Disaster Management Mohammad Azizul Islam Joardar.
"The weekend holidays of public employees of the district have been scrapped as well," DC Helal said.
Officer of District Disaster and Relief Md Azizul Islam Joardar said about 2,460 volunteers including members of Red Crescent Society and 114 medical teams with health workers have already been prepared to cope with the disasters, and 16 control rooms have been set up, he said, adding that announcement through loud-speakers about the cyclone awareness began on Friday in all the coastal areas.
A five-member committee has been formed to monitor the pre- and post-cyclonic situation in the coastal areas, he added.
Special preparations have been taken in four more risky coastal upazilas like Koyra, Paikgachha, Dakop, and Batiaghata in Khulna, he added.
Because of the effect of Cyclone 'Bulbul', the activities of Mongla Port Authority (MPA) has already been stopped, said Acting Chairman and also Member (Finance) of MPA Yasmin Afsana while talking to the Daily Observer on Saturday morning.
The vessels anchored at the jetties are being taken to the safer places, especially in outer anchorage with a view to protecting the jetties, she said.
All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice, she added.
The authorities have also postponed Rash Mela, which was scheduled to begin on Nov 10 at Dublar Char of the Sundarbans.