20 killed, several injured as Cyclone Bulbul hits Coastal Odisha, WB & Bangladesh: Extensive damages caused

Cyclone Bulbul has claimed 10 lives in Bengal and Odisha, and at least 13 people in Bangladesh .The cyclone lashed coastal areas this weekend, though prompt evacuations saved many lives and the worst was over, officials said on Sunday. In West Bengal,the severe cyclonic storm uprooted hundreds of trees and snapped cables in the city and in the coastal districts of North and South 24 Parganas and East Mindapore  impacting  normal activities. State Disaster Management minister Javed Khan said that at least 2,473 houses were destroyed and another 26,000 were partially damaged in the cyclone in the coastal districts along the Bay o Bengal, with the fishing towns of Bakkhali and Namkhana being among the worst-affected areas. He said that while 2.73 lakh families were affected in the storm, 1.78 lakh people were moved to relief camps set up in nine places of the state. ‘Bulbul’ claimed the lives of five persons in separate incidents in North Parganas alone, News 18 says citing an official. Five of the six victims in Bangladesh were killed by falling trees, including a 52-year old woman who had spent the night in a shelter. She returned home on Sunday and was killed when a tree crashed onto her house. A 60-year old fisherman had refused to evacuate. Some 30 people were injured and around 6,000 homes were partially or fully damaged, Bangladeshi authorities said. Two fishing boats have not yet returned and relatives have been unable to contact the roughly 36 men on board, added Anwar Uddin, a local public representative in the southern Bhola district. The severe Cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ totally damaged 9,455 homesteads while 37,820 were partially destroyed at nine upazilas in the Khulna, said officials of District Relief and Disaster Management Office, according to BSS. Khulna District Administration, Mongla Port Authority, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) of Mongla West Zone, Fire Service and Civil Defence are working day and night to rehabilitate the affected people of the coastal area. As part of the immediate response for the first time in the district history, more than 2.97 lakh people were successfully evacuated and moved them to 349 cyclone shelters in coastal district as the ‘Bulbul’ hit the region,” said Deputy Commissioner of Khulna Md Helal. However, no major damage was immediately reported in camps in southeast Bangladesh where hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar are living. In India’s state of West Bengal, seven people were killed, Javed Khan, the state’s minister for disaster management told reporters on Sunday evening. India’s meteorological department said the cyclone was expected to weaken but warned fishermen not to venture into the sea for the next 12 hours. Some 2 million people from all of Bangladesh’s 13 coastal districts huddled in about 5,558 shelters on Saturday night. Outside, wind speeds rose to between 100 and 120 km per hour (62-75 mph), and some low-lying coastal areas were flooded. Wind speeds have now come down to between 70 and 80 kph, authorities said. “It may take a couple of days to get a normal situation,” Enamur Rahman, junior minister for disaster management and relief, told Reuters. About 1,200 predominantly domestic tourists were stuck on St. Martin’s Island, part of the Cox’s Bazar district, Rahman said. “All of them will be rescued,” he said.The cyclone season in the Bay of Bengal can last from April to December. In 1999 a super-cyclone battered the coast of India’s Odisha state for 30 hours, killing 10,000 people. The severe cyclonic storm uprooted hundreds of trees and snapped cables in the city and in the coastal districts of North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore. State Disaster Management minister Javed Khan said that at least 2,473 houses were destroyed and another 26,000 were partially damaged in the cyclone in the coastal districts along the Bay o Bengal, with the fishing towns of Bakkhali and Namkhana being among the worst-affected areas. He said that while 2.73 lakh families were affected in the storm, 1.78 lakh people were moved to relief camps set up in nine places of the state. ‘Bulbul’ claimed the lives of five persons in separate incidents in North Parganas alone, an official said. Before entering Bangladesh from West Bengal, one septuagenarian woman, Suchitra Mandal, died at Purba Makala village in Basirhat area of North 24 Parganas district when a tree fell on her. Several trees were also uprooted at Gokhna village, one of which claimed the life of Reba Biswas (47). Gale wind with gusts up to 135 kmph prevailed over the coastal districts of South 24 Parganas and East Mindapore and its adjoining areas in North 24 Parganas as the cyclone made landfall around midnight on Saturday.News 18 reports torrential rain lashed Kolkata metropolis throughout Saturday forcing people to remain indoors. Hundreds of uprooted trees blocked thoroughfares in the state capital and its fringe areas, even as people braved the adverse conditions to come out of homes as the weather improved on Sunday afternoon. The NDRF, along with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), police and fire personnel, is working on a war footing to clear road blockades caused by fallen trees and branches.”We have already engaged workers to clear the roads and pump out water from low-lying areas. We are hopeful our work will be over by tonight,” said a KMC official. Khan said, all emergency services have been put in place to ensure that the uprooted trees are removed at the earliest.

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