Deadly Bangladesh cyclone one of longest seen

May 29, 2024
Marooned houses are seen during heavy rainfall in Patuakhali on May 27, 2024, following the landfall of Cyclone Remal in Bangladesh. — AFP

PATUAKHALI, Bangladesh: Bangladeshi weather experts said on Tuesday that a deadly cyclone that carved a swathe of destruction was one of the quickest-forming and longest-lasting they´d experienced, blaming climate change for the shift.


Cyclone Remal, which made landfall in low-lying Bangladesh and neighbouring India on Sunday evening with fierce gales and crashing waves, destroyed thousands of homes, smashed seawalls and flooded cities across the two countries.

“In terms of its land duration, it is one of the longest in the country´s history,” Azizur Rahman, director of the state-run Bangladesh Meteorological Department told AFP, adding it had battered the country for more than 36 hours. In contrast, Cyclone Aila, which hammered Bangladesh in 2009, lasted around 34 hours.

Cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh in recent decades, and the number of superstorms hitting its densely populated coast has increased sharply, from one a year to as many as three, due to the impact of climate change.

Slow-moving -- and therefore longer-lasting -- storms bring greater destruction.

“I´ve seen many storms in my life but nothing like this cyclone”, said Asma Khatun, an 80-year-old widow who lives with her son, a fisherman in Bangladesh´s hard-hit coastal town of Patuakhali.