“The possibility of the cyclone hitting Bangladesh is zero,” State Minister for Disaster Management Enamur Rahman said at a media briefing in Dhaka on Wednesday as the storm moved inland into India from the Bay of Bengal.
The Bangladesh government rushed 16,500 packets of dry food to the affected residents of 27 Upazilas in nine districts, Rahman said as he highlighted the government’s relief efforts in coastal districts.
The cyclone was packing gusts of up to 140 kph as it made landfall on the Indian coast, days after another storm tore up the western zone, triggering mass evacuations and piling pressure on authorities battling a deadly second wave of the coronavirus.
Indian authorities said more than a million inhabitants had been moved out of the storm’s path and the busiest regional airport, in the city of Kolkata, had been shut until Wednesday evening, Reuters reports.
Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal are common at this time of year, and often roar ashore, bringing death and destruction to the coastal areas of both India and neighbouring Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is considered one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world due to its geographical location and the negative impacts of climate change.
As the cyclone developed in the Bay of Bengal, members of Bangladesh Scouts, Red Crescent Society, Ansar and VDP along with 76,000 volunteers from Cyclone Preparation Programme moved to provide support to the coastal population, Rahman said. They had also joined forces with the local administration to evacuate people from the low-lying areas.
As a precautionary measure, Bangladesh readied storm shelters. The authorities were prepared with sufficient resources to deliver humanitarian services, according to Rahman.
On the management of levees, Rahman said, “The Ministry of Water Resources will take care of any broken dam and begin evacuation immediately if it happens.”
“The repairing of dams that broke down in different districts is underway with the supervision of deputy commissioners and the ministry.”
The government decided to provide low-interest loans to farmers and fishermen who suffered losses due to the cyclone or broken dam.