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At least 16 dead as powerful cyclone Remal hits Bangladesh and India

Strong winds and strong waves continue to pound the coasts of India and Bangladesh on Monday, where at least sixteen people died, thousands of homes were destroyed. destroyed and towns flooded during the powerful cyclone Remal.

“At least 10 people were killed in the cyclone,” Mohibbur Rahman, Bangladesh's minister for disaster management, told reporters.

“In total, 3.75 million people were affected (…) 35,483 homes were destroyed by the cyclone and 115,992 damaged”, added Mr. Rahman.

< p>Villages were submerged by storm waves, tin roofs torn off, trees uprooted and power lines cut, noted an AFP journalist present in the affected area.

More than 12.5 million people were left without electricity, said Biswanath Sikder, chief engineer of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board, the country's largest state-owned electricity distribution company.

At least 16 dead as powerful cyclone Remal hits Bangladesh and India

Damage caused by the passage of Cyclone Remal in Kuakata (Bangladesh), May 27, 2024 © AFP – MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

In the flooded streets of Chittagong, Bangladesh's second largest city, 240 millimeters of rain were recorded, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said.

A major dyke in Manpura , in the Bhola district of Bangladesh, was damaged during the cyclone.

– 100,000 people to be rescued –

“The dike protecting the town of Manpura was broken by the power waves and rains due to the cyclone,” said Showkat Ali, Barisal district government administrator.

“We are trying to help around 100,000 people,” he added.

At least 800,000 Bangladeshis have fled the country's coast, authorities say, while more than 150,000 people in India have retreated far from the sea, leaving the Sundarbans forest region where the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna flow into the Bay of Bengal.

And in neighboring India, “at least six people” have died, said Sumit Gupta, a senior government official in the eastern state of West Bengal, whose main city, Calcutta, is flooded.

“The cyclone took away the roofs of hundreds of houses” and also “uprooted thousands of mangrove trees and electricity poles”, the chief minister of the State, Bankim Chandra Hazra.

“Storm surges and rising sea levels have destroyed a number of sea walls,” Hazra added. “Some island villages are flooded.”

– “extreme wind” –

Sumita Mondal, 36 years old , who spent the night far from the Indian coast, said she fled with what little she could carry.

“My three-year-old son is crying, he wants food,” she told AFP by telephone.

At the height of the cyclone , the wind speed reached up to 111 km/h, a senior official from the Bangladesh meteorological service, Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik, told AFP.

Monday afternoon, the cyclone strengthened into a storm, but winds and rain continued to sweep the coast.

Cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh in recent decades and the number hitting its low-lying, densely populated coastline has risen sharply from one to three per year, due to climate change.

“This time the wind is extreme,” said Uttom Kumar Das, a 62-year-old businessman, Patuakhali . “It also lasts longer than before.”

Most of Bangladesh's coastal areas are one or two meters above sea level.

According to Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik, the mangroves of the Sundarbans region helped absorb the worst of the cyclone.

“As in the past, the Sundarbans acted as a natural shield,” he explained.

But according to Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain, Bangladesh's top forest official for the Sundarbans, the storm flooded vital freshwater areas with salt water.

“We’re worried,” he said. “These ponds are a source of fresh water for all the wildlife in the mangroves, including Bengal tigers, an endangered species.”

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All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116